This past weekend I catered a friend’s birthday party, several days of prep led up to the culminating event. I had help from a dear friend one day, but other than some dishes and day of load in help from my husband did it on my own–no small feat while working full time and parenting three children (thankfully my husband picked up a lot of the slack there). Staying motivated to complete tasks in a timely manner is greatly helped by having a buddy there to talk to or help you remember all the details. In many ways it’s more fun to do it yourself, you don’t have to explain to anyone else what they can do to help, and you are solely responsible for tasting everything yourself to determine when it’s just right.
For me the hardest part was learning to let go of the creations I’d made. It’s funny because at work I don’t spend a lot of time agonizing over dishes, it’s probably because I rely on the other people in the kitchen to verify that what I’ve done meets the standards of the kitchen, their standards…not taking true ownership over what I’ve made. In this situation, I was the owner, the creator, it was all on me from beginning to end. Having catered a few events before, and of course having hosted dinners at my own house I have been in the situation before, but this was different. I felt connected to this food in a way I haven’t before and was worried that the party goers didn’t appreciate what I had created. I used some special barley I had acquired from the WSU extension program, freekeh I had to carefully search for, and herbs I’d grown in my own garden. Despite my heartache at “giving” away what I’d made I realized that that was why I had made these dishes, shared my passion, because in the end sharing a piece of yourself is part of what cooking for other people is about. Making their day a little brighter, and reveling in the glory of their happiness and the part you had in giving them that feeling. That heartache you feel, that’s part of the human connection that makes it all worth while.