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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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On 11/28/2019 at 3:23 AM, chromedome said:

"I"ll definitely remember...." is one of the greatest lies we tell ourselves. Right up there with "just one more" and the like.

 

I find, for myself, that "I'll be able to use this soon" is right up there also.

 

Remember at the start of this trip, when the refrigerator and freezer were jammed chock-full? We're making progress on getting them less jammed, but the progress isn't obvious. My darling quipped today about some fairy tale in which the pitcher of milk was always full, no matter how much you poured from it. I don't remember that particular story, but this freezer does keep on giving.

 

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Most of this stuff was brought from home, although some was purchased on the road specifically for holiday feasts that didn't come to pass. There's still a package of beef short ribs from home, but we bought the shrimp in Yuma. I'll tell about Christmas and New Year's later, if anyone's interested.

 

In the last few days I've been pulling things from odd corners and cooking them, in the name of making room and contributing to food turnover. I'll admit right now that we plan to shop tomorrow at a favorite grocery store with an irresistable meat department, so all our work will likely be undone.

 

Yesterday it was country-style ribs that I'd bought last fall, at the the same place that had supplied the beef short ribs and a few hams. My darling usually does these in the slow cooker, drowning in barbecue sauce. Since we are boondocking at present I had the opportunity to try an oven very-slow-cook. I coated the (still-frozen) ribs in a spice rub my sister had given me at Christmas a year ago, 

 

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...loaded it with a few potatoes into our enameled cast iron pot, and loaded that into the oven. The next few hours I spent cycling the oven between 300F (the lowest marked setting) and pilot-light only, trying to maintain a fairly low temperature as the ribs thawed then cooked. The meat got beautifully tender and stayed juicy, in a way I've never seen in the crock-pot. On the other hand, this pork came from a better source than we usually get. Was it the meat, or the cooking method, that made the difference?

 

As the done-time approached I prepared parsleyed potatoes and broccoli on the stovetop to supplement the pot-potatoes. The broccoli was one of those things I'd bought for a holiday breakfast feast (see King Arthur Flour's Holiday Breakfast Strata recipe) and then never gotten around to doing. The broccoli was still surprisingly fresh!

 

My darling, who always cooks country-style ribs in a slow-cooker full of BBQ sauce, was happy with these results. I had painted the ribs with sauce during the last bit of cooking, but preferred this balance of sauce to meat flavor. There was plenty of sauce at the table. When we get back to electricity, will he change his method? Probably not.... ;)

 

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I'll tell about the spaghetti squash in another post. Meanwhile, here's a bit of local color for those of you in the snow:

 

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Rush milkweed, aka skeleton milkweed, in case you're wondering. It's all over the wash uphill from us.

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Yes please, I would love to hear about Christmas and New Year.

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Me too!

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Huh! Well, thanks for the votes of confidence. :)

 

It'll take a day or two, because we're moving tomorrow, but here's a preview. 

 

20191225_133135.jpg

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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It's strange: the holiday season this year seemed more of a non-holiday, but as I think about it I realize it needs to be broken up into multiple posts anyway. I'll start with what has defined our holiday season every year for more than a decade: helping a dear friend celebrate her birthday on Midwinter's Day. This year, she turned 99. She's still sharp, and living in her own house, and energetic enough to pursue her own projects although she hasn't the energy she once had. Heck, I'm her daughter's age and I don't have the energy I once had. This friend is astonishing.

 

Her daughter lives with her and took care of all the food planning and cooking. To celebrate the momentous event, she went out and bought bucketloads of flowers to be put into bouquets and distributed around the house. I helped with the food preparation. It went this way:

"What can I do to help?" I asked as the daughter was chopping vegetables.

"Can you deal with a pineapple?" she asked, frantically.

Of course I can. I cut one of those things up about every 2 weeks for my darling's fruit salad. It no longer feels time-consuming or intimidating. Away I went on that, then on the citrus, and the berries, until I had something like looked a lot like this (admittedly, this is our latest trailer salad, not the birthday salad - but it looked much like it):

 

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Then came the bouquets. Flower arranging isn't my long suit, but I think by then it was "any old port in a storm" for our hostess. I got going on that while she slogged on with the rest of the dinner preparations.

 

We four sat down to baked salmon, steamed vegetables, mixed wild and white rice, and the fruit salad. Later, more guests came over for cheesecake bites, hot cider, a cake, conversation and music. Part of the tradition for the past more-than-a-decade has been the music. My darling and I bring out the guitars, and we generally do a mix of standard Christmas carols that everyone knows, goofball science-parody versions of Christmas carols that we know from college, and show tunes. I don't have any photos of the spread, but the next day when we left we were invited to take a bouquet! It graced our table until just a couple of days ago. 

 

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This was a lovely visit, well worth the nuisance of going into and out of the L.A. Basin, and we hope to do it again when she turns 100.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Our trip to the L.A. Basin went according to plan; Christmas did not. Part of that is because we were trying a new plan.  For time out of mind, our extended family has gathered for Christmas. This meant us taking the Princessmobile from the L.A. Basin up into Central California, where I grew up, or over to the Coast near Pismo Beach, where my cousins now live. This year, for a variety of reasons, the family gathering was not to happen. We had plenty of time to decide what else to do. My sister lives in Reno, Nevada. We are spending most of this winter in the desert near Yuma, Arizona. We decided to split the difference, more or less, at Death Valley, California.

 

Oh, the plans I had!  The Christmas menu was based on some wonderful short ribs I'd bought last Labor Day weekend at Amor Pork while visiting my daughter-in-law, and on this cook-in-advance holiday feast from a class I took last September. The specifics were:

 

That was just Christmas dinner. I had plans for other wildly extravagant meals and snacks:

  • Sausage rolls, basically from @Kim Shook's and @Shelby's takes on the idea
  • King Arthur Flour's Holiday Breakfast Strata
  • Puff pastry tart loaded with marinated grilled artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes from a recent Trader Joe's trip, and chunks of sausage brought from home
  • Cheeses on crackers, possibly including a pimento spread made in the Princessmobile
  • Shrimp ceviche
  • Shrimp pasta
  • Walnut-stuffed dates
  • Duck confit, pork rillettes and candied King salmon - all booty from another class I'd taken last fall at home 
  • Various goodies picked up at the Sonoran Desert Harvest Festival when we were in Tucson
  • Fruit-studded holiday bread, akin to stollen
  • ...and, if that weren't enough or we wanted simplicity, we had plenty of other supplies. Fresh basil with which to make pesto and cook chicken, or spread it on bread. Fixings for plain old spaghetti with marinara, or pasta carbonara, or potatoes dauphinois, or nice light green salads with or without spinach, or the famous broccoli salad with bacon. Failing all that, we had plenty of tube steaks and frozen peas.

We had everything we needed, and then some, for some glorious feasts of the break-the-diet variety.  I'd been hoarding lovely stuff from home. I had been able to augment those supplies in early December, when a sanity break driving trip to San Diego and the L.A. Basin had given me access to places like Trader Joe's and the Oasis Date Gardens. I had come back to the Princessmobile from that trip loaded with purchases. (My darling is still kvetching about the weight in one of our coolers that will not be used to store oranges from the home ranch this year. Hey, we'd realized we weren't going to the San Joaquin Valley at our usual time. Why not use it for containment? I want some of those TJ's items when we get home!)

 

So, that was the plan. We left the L.A. Basin on Sunday morning relatively early, before the northbound traffic toward Las Vegas got too crazy. We considered staying overnight on the high desert one night before going into the regulatory confinement of a national park, but looked at the weather and made it in one day. We chose well. The rain and snow began to move in that night. Neither of us fancies towing the Princessmobile over a snowy pass.

 

By Monday, the weather was really going sour, as it did in much of the USA. At least we were at a low enough altitude (~200' below Sea Level) that we got rain and wind, but no snow.

 

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I began decorating the trailer and doing advance prep for the Christmas feast, keeping my fingers crossed. The panna cotta requires an oat crumble to be cooked in advance for the base. I did that, and after it was cooled put it into an airtight container until it could become the base for the panna cotta.

 

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The carrot "salads" can be done the day of the feast, but they can also be cooked in advance, then rewarmed and sauced just before serving on the day of the feast. The whole idea of that class was to have things already cooked so you could visit with your guests while the finishing touches were getting done. I cooked the carrot steaks. The process is fiddly enough that it really IS better done in advance.

 

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We continued checking the weather, a task that was severely limited at our end by next-to-no internet. My sister had a lot of high terrain to deal with between her and us, and the snow line just kept going down. Finally on Tuesday, after long telephone consultations, we collectively decided that she was better off staying home. On Wednesday, Christmas morning, we all knew she'd made the right decision. See those low clouds? It was like that through every pass she could reasonably have taken into the Valley. The winds were ferocious, too. It was worse over at the Coast, and we were glad to be sheltered.

 

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Still. It was just the two of us for Christmas dinner. Somehow, it didn't seem as important to have every single dish that I'd planned. I didn't make the panna cotta. I didn't make the bearnaise for the carrot salad. He had beer at dinner, being more of the beer persuasion than the wine persuasion anyway.

 

20200108_115650.jpg

 

It was good. I enjoyed using the special dishes and the special Christmas linens. We never had to move the table out of the way to inflate the mattress for my sister's bed. I had a mountain of dishes to do afterward; our deal is that I wash and he puts away in the morning.

 

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No, it wasn't good. It was delicious! And we enjoyed it. But I must say, I've been off the idea of elaborately prepared dinners since then. It's only been 2 weeks. This may not be a permanent attitude change.

 

But boy, do I still have a lot of stuff to use!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Applaud your efforts and sorry about the challenges. I have always done huge gatherings with buffet style/come as you wish over many hours. Heck I catered my 200+ guest wedding... At some point  I embraced paper plates, aluminum disposable pans and concentrated on good food and company. No last minute prep. My take. 

Oh currently so windy the house is practically shuddering...

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Those carrot salads are SO COOL looking.  I want to do this.  

 

I know all that planning and then not to be with your family was hard, but at least you had each other and your furry babies and your wonderful camper.  And now you don't have to share all of your goodies. 😁

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2 hours ago, Smithy said:

We continued checking the weather

 

The weather in the SW was awful beginning week of Thanksgiving and continued to be unseasonable right to the New Year.   I had a "monsoon garden" of watermelons that might have gave me a couple melons, but a freak hail storm pummeled them into non-existence.   It's been wet and cold by our standards this year.

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21 hours ago, heidih said:

Applaud your efforts and sorry about the challenges. I have always done huge gatherings with buffet style/come as you wish over many hours. Heck I catered my 200+ guest wedding... At some point  I embraced paper plates, aluminum disposable pans and concentrated on good food and company. No last minute prep. My take. 

Oh currently so windy the house is practically shuddering...

 

The weather has been awful most places. I know yesterday the L.A. Basin was getting rain again, so the wind you had isn't surprising. As to paper plates and disposable pans: I actually have some of that stuff on board. The paper plates are the large, stiff Chinette ovel platters that would house a generous steak and potato. I got them I think for a time when we needed to be even more water-conscious than usual, which is pretty strict anyway. The reusable pans were salvaged from my DIL, who brings army-sized quantities of food when they come visit. It's already prepared, and we just pop it into the oven. Trouble is, I can't bring myself to throw away or recycle the pans afterward! So I wash them and take them someplace where using and tossing can be justified...and then keep hoarding them. O.o

 

21 hours ago, Shelby said:

Those carrot salads are SO COOL looking.  I want to do this.  

 

I know all that planning and then not to be with your family was hard, but at least you had each other and your furry babies and your wonderful camper.  And now you don't have to share all of your goodies. 😁

 

I really do recommend that treatment of carrots, but it is fiddly and time-consuming. The beauty of it is that there are scraps of carrot left over that are too stubby or too narrow to make it into the "steaks". I could make a ginger and carrot soup out of them, or use them in vegetable stock or a mirapoix. So far I've just been nibbling at them.

 

The trouble with "now you don't have to share all of your goodies" is that I have to buy some to send to her! 

 

19 hours ago, lemniscate said:

 

The weather in the SW was awful beginning week of Thanksgiving and continued to be unseasonable right to the New Year.   I had a "monsoon garden" of watermelons that might have gave me a couple melons, but a freak hail storm pummeled them into non-existence.   It's been wet and cold by our standards this year.

 

Yeah, I've been watching the weather over your way. I hope your garden recovers. Or can it be replanted now, in time to do something this spring?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I mentioned before that we had a bunch of food -- too much for two people reasonably to eat -- in the Princessmobile, and that some had come from home. Let me tell you the story of The Spaghetti Squash That Would Not Be Used.

 

Back last Labor Day Weekend, my darling and I visited his daughter and her family at their place in Ottertail, (western) Minnesota. DIL and I have a tradition of making salsa, and more salsa, and yet more salsa during that weekend - enough to satisfy our families and give some away. It's a fun time, and it gives us an excuse to make multiple trips to Buehler's Produce, as shown here. Buehler's is a wonderful place, with produce of every midwestern description, most of it grown locally. They also carry cheeses and jars of locally made condiments. We spend a lot of time checking out the offerings, figuring out what to serve the families, and egging each other into far too many extras. ("This looks like a great mustard!" "Hey, check out this syrup!")

 

Labor Day Weekend is the official end of summer vacation in Minnesota. Resorts and restaurants begin to wind their businesses down, although the seasonal closures may wait until mid-October. As a result of the expected drop in custom, Buehler's had their squash and melons marked down. I came away with a carnival squash, a watermelon, and a spaghetti squash. I think the spaghetti squash cost $2. It probably weighed 10 pounds.

 

"What are you going to do with that?" asked my DIL, who is gluten-intolerant.

"How about we have spaghetti with it one night?" I replied. "It would be gluten-free spaghetti, so you could eat it too."  She looked skeptical, then allowed that she already had the meals planned, then elaborated that "her boys" wouldn't touch something like that. I brought the squash home with the rest of our bounty.

 

"What's that?" asked my darling. "Spaghetti squash!" I replied brightly. "We can use it as a substitute for pasta!" He gave me the fisheye.

 

Weeks passed. The squash reproached us from atop our kitchen cart. Every once in a while I glanced at it guiltily. I'd deal with it later. I was busy with my part-time occupation, and my darling did most of the cooking before we left for the winter. He didn't have a clue what to do with it.

 

When it was time to pack up, the squash joined other impulse buys in a cooler, waiting for the right time to use them. "Why is this cooler so heavy?" groused my darling. With flour I'd bought last spring in Tucson, and jars of spaghetti sauce, and condiments that wouldn't fit into the refrigerator, the squash was in good weighty company.

 

Somehow, that squash eluded use. When my darling wanted spaghetti, he wanted pasta. I considered other possible uses. I looked at recipes, and found (among other things) that kitchn.com refers to it as "Mother Nature's Little Joke on Pasta". Heck, there were lots of possibilities! Why was I having so much trouble choosing one? I've done spaghetti squash before!

 

When I drove to San Diego to visit my best friend for a week, the squash went with me. She and her husband are creative and adventuresome cooks: masters of low-fat, delicious, thrifty cooking. Surely we'd enjoy this. She looked at that squash and glared at me. "Don't bring that into the house!" she said, "we spent months trying to work out what to do with one, and never want to go through that again!" Back it came with me to the Princessmobile, a week later.

 

The time finally came after New Year's. I won't claim that it was a NY Resolution, as such, but I really do need to deal with all the food we're carrying. I had a package of lovely sausages from home. I had several jars of tomato preserves from home, including a jar of @ElainaA's slow-roasted cherry tomatoes with basil that had been taking up refrigerator space.

 

20200110_120635.jpg

 

And I had that spaghetti squash. It was tough. After a couple of tries at cutting it, I poked the rind all around and microwaved it until juices started to flow so that the rind would soften. No wonder this thing had held up so long and so well! I hoped it would have plenty of "meat".

 

Below, the rest of the steps: I sliced the squash in half and roasted it until the strands would separate out, then pulled and scraped them from the shell. Meanwhile, I sweated some onion (not shown) then added the chunks of sausage to cook, then finished it with the jar of tomatoes, and tossed that with the squash strands.

 

20200103_104904-1.jpg

 

We ate. I'm sure we put grated parmesan on it at the table, but I can't find a picture to prove it.

 

20200103_111508.jpg

 

We admired the sunset.

 

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The cooler was 10 pounds lighter, and we had a delicious dinner with delicious leftovers: enough for at least another meal each.

 

Would he eat it again? In a heartbeat! Would I do it again? Maybe. Someday.

 

But I'll be more sure of when I can use that squash, and who might want to eat it, before I buy another one.

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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FWIW, I remember seeing a recipe for a marmalade-ish jam made with oranges and spaghetti squash...I think it was from one of Clifford Wright's books, and was Sicilian, but I couldn't swear to it.

 

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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On 1/9/2020 at 4:28 PM, heidih said:

Applaud your efforts and sorry about the challenges. I have always done huge gatherings with buffet style/come as you wish over many hours. Heck I catered my 200+ guest wedding... At some point  I embraced paper plates, aluminum disposable pans and concentrated on good food and company. No last minute prep. My take. 

Oh currently so windy the house is practically shuddering...

I read this earlier.  Five minutes ago it hit me that YOU CATERED YOUR OWN WEDDING. 

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

I read this earlier.  Five minutes ago it hit me that YOU CATERED YOUR OWN WEDDING. 

 

Oh hell we did homemade BBQ sauce for the spit roasted beef and lamb (Croatian guys came with their rig outside), all the other salads and starches by myself and the older grammy types who had come from across country and Canada. . I did order the cake - different flavor in each layer and only flower petals (organic) from my florist friend. (yes the chocolate layer ended up smashed on my dress) Certainly took my mind  off of things before  walked down the "aisle" back lawn when a small plane buzzed us and nobody could hear the judge (I'd been his flower girl when he married).  Guitarist was best friend's brother (an aerospace engineer) and the singer and band were from high school doing covers from that era. There were many other hilarious moments. I ate nothing and almost passed out after the one glass of champagne the neighbor handed me. 

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2 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

Oh hell we did homemade BBQ sauce for the spit roasted beef and lamb (Croatian guys came with their rig outside), all the other salads and starches by myself and the older grammy types who had come from across country and Canada. . I did order the cake - different flavor in each layer and only flower petals (organic) from my florist friend. (yes the chocolate layer ended up smashed on my dress) Certainly took my mind  off of things before  walked down the "aisle" back lawn when a small plane buzzed us and nobody could hear the judge (I'd been his flower girl when he married).  Guitarist was best friend's brother (an aerospace engineer) and the singer and band were from high school doing covers from that era. There were many other hilarious moments. I ate nothing and almost passed out after the one glass of champagne the neighbor handed me. 

 

That's no where near enough detail. Lol. 

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3 hours ago, gfweb said:

I read this earlier.  Five minutes ago it hit me that YOU CATERED YOUR OWN WEDDING. 

 

Yeah, I took that without a perceptible stagger as well. Now I wish I could go back and add an "astonished" emoji, instead of wittering on about the paper plates!

 

2 hours ago, gfweb said:

 

That's no where near enough detail. Lol. 

 

Amen! Any more stories you want to tell about that, @heidih, will be welcome! xD

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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3 hours ago, gfweb said:

 

That's no where near enough detail. Lol. 

 

I am a writer ;)  I'll bite. The company supplying tables/chairs/tablecloths did arrive.However several of the cloths were damaged. Why I now despise the color pink.  My Mexican helper lady (from Jalisco -  wife of my dad's super employee) helped me find a pink bobbin for the sewing machine and we stitched them together as I ran back and forth testing the sauce, the potato salad and figuring out how to manage the bread bakes.  (no white dress on my bod at this point) Then the breeze came up and all the little tables vases fell over so we ran round gathering small stones to put in them to hold down. The valet guys alerted me that lot of peeps were here. OK maybe put that dress on.  At this point only diet coke had been consumed last 24 or more hours... Beef started to smell "done" so had them carve and tent outer layer. Ultimately only compliments esp the BBQ sauce. I think I secretly like the rush of deadline and chaos! Photos are apparently in a deeply buried place somewhere...

 

 

 


Edited by heidih (log)
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Once again I wish I could work two emojis into a response, @heidih: I'm torn between a belly-laugh and a "thanks". I chose the "thanks", but I'm getting hilarious mental images!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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On 1/10/2020 at 9:20 PM, gfweb said:

I read this earlier.  Five minutes ago it hit me that YOU CATERED YOUR OWN WEDDING. 

Why so surprised?  I did my own as well.  We bought cold cuts, I baked the bread and rolls, the wedding cake and the groom's favor(white fruit cake).  My mom made her clam quiche, I made quiche Lorraine, we all made stuffed eggs and green salad.  We had a blast.

 

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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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2 hours ago, suzilightning said:

Why so surprised?  I did my own as well.  We bought cold cuts, I baked the bread and rolls, the wedding cake and the groom's favor(white fruit cake).  My mom made her clam quiche, I made quiche Lorraine, we all made stuffed eggs and green salad.  We had a blast.

 

I believe you, but now I'm impressed with you as well as Heidi. :)

 

When we were planning our wedding, a friend offered the use of his brand-new, still-clean hangar. Cool! We decided to make it a pot-luck party. My parents, who had given up on my ever getting married and had a bit of money to throw at the operation, said "Oh, honey. Oh, honey! Nobody wants to be stuck with that cleanup!" So we had it catered instead, at a hotel, where someone else would do all the work. (The wedding certificate went missing at the reception / dinner after the ceremony, but that's another story.)

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'm impressed by you self-wedding-caterers.

 

When I was running a small newspaper in Northwest Arkansas, one of our reporters got married. The news staff decided we would cater her wedding reception for her. We did some kind of grilled meat and fish (I don't remember what it was), baked beans, potato salad and slaw. I won the "make the potato salad" job. Fifty pounds of potatoes. My hand cramped for a week and a half.

 

We invited friends of the bride to each be a "table hostess" and provide dishes, flatware and decorations for the table, which was kinda cool. We had some really creative tables, including one on which the tablecloth was road maps and the china was souvenir state plates. The centerpiece featured a miniature Airstream trailer (it was big tourist country up there). We served dinner family style, with pass-around platters and bowls of food.

 

Lots of fun, and a quite memorable wedding reception.

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I love these wedding-catering stories! Let more come along as y'all think of them.

 

I have a bit more to write about Death Valley and the holidays, but wish to interrupt this narrative with the latest exigency. We awoke yesterday morning to a generator that refused to generate. (It seems that trailer failures, like most emergencies and even births, are most likely to happen on weekends or after work hours!) We found someone willing to make a "house call" on a Saturday. They arrived around 1:30 in the afternoon, and left around 3:00 with the generator, having determined that it's either the "brains" or the stator. They thought they'd get back to the shop in time to determine which. They called later. Nope, they hadn't gotten to the shop in time. We'll hear Monday. They have ready access to both parts, so either way the generator should be back here on Tuesday.

 

The lack of a generator means returning to "older, simpler" times like those when we traveled with a bed-of-the-pickup camper. Fortunately the pickup can recharge our trailer's batteries, so we have fundamentals like water, lights and heat. The stove and oven don't need electricity. The refrigerator runs on propane and 12v power, so our food is safe. What we can't use are things that run on 110v electricity: the microwave oven and, woe is us, the coffee maker. How can one face a crisis like a failed generator on a Saturday morning without coffee!?  I found my stash of instant Starbuck's 2019 Christmas Blend, boiled water and had what passed for "coffee" (if you squinted) while I searched for generator repair services and made phone calls. 

 

After the generator had gone to the shop I went looking for our French press. We haven't used it for years. I had considered leaving it behind, and maybe even donating it. Had I actually done so?

 

I'm happy to report that procrastination and lack of resolve to simplify have paid off again. 

 

20200112_144128.jpg

 

The bottom photo in that collage is simply for beauty. I think the bubble pattern in that pot coming to the boil is delightful. Maybe you will too.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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