So I did it. I bloody well pulled it off. I catered my very first bridal shower.
After weeks of planning, careful and otherwise, and two hectic days of preparing food, it is all over, and furthermore I am still alive to relay the not very thrilling account..
The invitation stated, “Victorian inspired English tea party, and sport your finest hats.”
I had no idea what the implications would be of such a few words.
For those curious in such matters I will mention the food I had prepared, if you find that a rather dull detail I hereby give you permission to jump straight to the next paragraph.
On Saturday I made one hundred and twenty tartlets. Basically miniature, single mouthful, tarts. I made them in three varieties, raspberry, Apricot, and my favorite, Lemon curd. After making my mom’s pastry recipe (she would have been so proud, or maybe embarrassed I am not quite sure.) After a lot of kneading I rolled it out deliciously thin, and used a small wine glass to cut out circles. I used a mini muffin pan, and baked the pre-baked the crusts, filled them, and then re-baked to a golden brown. The whole process took a mind numbing three hours. The following day I topped them with a dollop of fresh cream, and then garnished them with a fresh raspberry, toasted almonds, or sugared lemon rind appropriately.
Then came eighty plus scones. This was an easier process, as the recipe I have had in my head since I was about eight. They baked up perfectly, lots of height and came out the ideal shade of brown.-So far so good. I thought—so far so bloody good.
Yesterday I had every intention of bouncing out of my bed at five thirty and skipping down the stairs with wild enthusiasm and energy and sing gaily classic show tunes at the top of my voice as I masterfully and quickly constructed all the food. There was a snafu in my plan. A snafu of epic proportions I feel obliged to say. I am a bit of a worrier, and as this shower is for my favorite nice, the very same niece that introduced me to my wonderful wife, and therefore is to thank for all the amazing years since…I wanted everything to be simply perfect. The Martha syndrome I call it. So, when I should have been blissfully in the land of nod, dreaming of sugar plum fairies and fluffy puppies, I was restlessly turning and tossing, and tossing and turning. So was my wife.
At about quarter to eight, I finally rolled out of my bed, sighed, and stumbled downstairs to begin the coffee.
The day before I had made out a list, down to every fifteen minutes of all that needed to be accomplished in the kitchen prior to one o clock. The mob, I mean the guests, were going to begin their home invasion at two.
As my coffee maker all too slowly made that first cup of coffee I realized that even before I started I was behind schedule.
My wife and her sister had, the day before, taken care of most of the decorations. We have all the Christmas decorations up, so it was an easier operation. We had rented two six foot tables for the breakfast nook, and had rented red and white lines on them In the dining room was matching linens, and on them sat neatly arranged the fifty English bone china teacups that I had purchased from E-bay, and the same amount of side plates. They were all mixed, and some were well over a hundred years old. We also had a basket with all the shower gifts for the guests. We purchased in bulk various lavender lotions, and sachets and such like and bagged them up in threes in clear bags, tied them with ribbon. They came out rather well.
Flowers were everywhere, and to go with the vases she used tea pots to arrange the flowers…very pretty.
But, as always I digress, the point was she was ahead of schedule. There was nothing for it; I needed to recruit her and my teenage son for sous-chef duties. They were thrilled. So we set about boiling the pasta, shredding the chicken breasts and the chopping and dicing that was required. Then a little later my brother and sister-in-law arrived and were also handed aprons. I shall not elaborate on what was said and done as the five of us got down the list…I naturally was the man in charge, and I have meticulous standards. But, as you know, we got it done by half twelve…
All the trays were there, arranged and garnished on the tables in the breakfast nook.
All the sandwiches had there crust cut off, and were cut into bonnie sized rectangle, triangles or squares.
We had tarragon Chicken on whole wheat, goat cheese and water cress on raisin bread, with one side of the crust dipped into pecans pieces, smoked salmon, open face on pumpernickel with wasabi cream cheese, topped with cilantro and lemon peel, and cream cheese and cucumber on white bread.
Then I had a Greek pasta salad, and a minted melon salad.
I was exhausted, but finished. We set out the Devonshire cream, strawberry jam and such like and got ourselves all prettied up.
To be continued.