Catering by Linda

Archive for January, 2015

Reviving Our Parents’ Dinner Party

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Catering by Linda-87-X2Forty years ago on a typical Saturday night, you would find me at the top of the stairs in the house where I grew up, face pressed up between the spindles in the banister. Straining to hear bits and pieces of my parents’ conversations with their friends as the noise lofted up from the dining room to where I sat (perfectly still so nobody would know I was there), I would lean though the spindles until I had marks on my face. And it was all worth it when I learned a tidbit of gossip about a neighbor or, better, yet, a sibling or one of their friends. I have shared this memory with others, who have similar stories. It seems our generation grew up at the top of the stairs, listening.
I would know my parents were preparing for a dinner party because my Mom would let me to choose a TV dinner from our big chest freezer in the garage, and she would put it in the oven for me in the late afternoon. It seemed to take FOREVER to bake, but the salisbury steak and chocolate cake (center, top, between the carrots and mashed potatoes) were worth the wait. She timed it just right, so I would be fed, bathed, and in my pajamas before her friends arrived. My Mom, Dad, and their guests enjoyed highballs, my Mom’s casseroles, and lively conversation into the night. I would make one quick appearance long enough to give my parents a kiss goodnight. I believe I fooled them into thinking I was truly going to bed, but I would sit at the top of the stairs just a little while longer, convinced that they were waiting until they knew I was in bed to bring up the truly interesting topics.
In the last few years, Bill and I have tried to bring back the dinner party, inviting friends from different parts of our lives to come and meet and enjoy dinner together. This past Sunday, we introduced Bill’s “old” friends to our friends from church and a new friend of mine from my tennis group. Among us, there were 6 teachers, 3 artists, 5 guitar players, 4 foodies, and 10 people who, as it turns out, really enjoy chocolate molten lava cake. The conversation was easy, fresh, and current, and everyone enjoyed meeting one another.
I encourage you to gather some friends from different corners of your world, and introduce them to one another at your next get-together. In our world of quick, electronic communications full of “friending” and “following,” the opportunity to meet new people and share a meal together, face-to-face, is rare and special.

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Food in the Public Eye

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

photo 2 With the continued growth and popularity of social media, there seem to be more recipes and food-related articles making their way across my computer screen. Seemingly, all foodies have blogs, all ingredients come with recipe suggestions, and all good restaurant recipes are vulnerable to scrutiny and replication. I am certainly not complaining; just this past week, I referenced Copykat’s “Panera’s Broccoli and Cheddar Soup” and made Macaroni Grill’s Scallopini di Pollo for dinner. My business, like any other, is always evolving in order to keep up with these current demands, trends, and cravings. Interestingly enough, for the first time in 9 years as a caterer, I had a customer ask me to make recipes she had found on Pinterest. I searched her name on Pinterest, followed her, accessed her “Christmas Party ideas” folder, and dutifully printed out the recipes. At first, I was hesitant about making recipes that I hadn’t made before and was curious as to why she didn’t choose from my “tried and true” (and delicious) menu. In the end, however, I appreciated the challenge, welcomed the change, and pleased my customer with the items she had chosen based on the Pinterest photos.
Yet another recipe that crossed my desk this season was the chocolate molten lava cake, pictured in this post. My neighbor raved about it on Facebook, and quite honestly, I had forgotten how much I loved it. I decided to make it for family for Christmas, and it came out exceedingly well (I omitted the orange liqueur, and used Callebaut chocolate). It was an easy make-ahead, looked beautiful on the plate, and everyone swooned over it. I am including the recipe link here so that it makes its way across your computer screen, too. Pin it or print it. Either way, it’s a keeper.

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Catering by Linda