Party planning

I was digging through Grandma Sara’s recipe box to find something good to share. It seems that the recipes that impressed her most were for desserts. There are cookies, cakes, pies galore.  Also, a good number of casseroles… but mostly sweets. I’ve selected a couple to share in the coming weeks.

I also found two notecards that appear to have outlined holiday menus and quantities of food, presumably for future reference. For example:

christmas-1991-menuShe didn’t specify how many people were at the meal, but included quantities to make a turkey, stuffing, mashed and baked sweet potatoes, plus 4 pies (mince, pumpkin, and two pecan).

Then we have Thanksgiving from 1985:

thanksgiving-1985-menuHere, she lists what she prepared for 15 people. It seems an 18 1/2 pound turkey was the right size to feed the crowd, however, two pounds of mixed vegetables and 4 boxes of yellow beans were too much, as were the large tossed salad and two packages of potato rolls.  I’m sure as I filled my own plate on my 19th Thanksgiving,  I most assuredly skimped on the vegetables (can you say afterthought?) in favor of the mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. Funny, she doesn’t even mention stuffing on this list; probably because it was a given, because in those days, you didn’t cook a bird without stuffing some seasoned bread into the cavity first.

The other thing she doesn’t mention is how she always used to put out two gravy boats – one that contained the giblets, and one that did not. I always thought she did this as a favor to me, but relatives, correct me if I’m wrong. I was a non-giblet girl. Still am.  Always will be. I’ll cook them and give ’em to the cat, but don’t you dare sneak them into my gravy. Blech.

When I’m planning a party or big meal, I do something she used to do – I will sit out all the serving bowls and utensils and label them ahead of time with what food goes in which one. That’s the kind of stuff I can handle. And, while I will write down a menu ahead of time, for grocery shopping purposes, I have never kept it and made notes about whether the quantities were appropriate or that everyone took their “polite bites” but nothing more of a certain dish, or notes on timing the cooking of things or… anything remotely helpful.

Now that I’ve discovered my grandma’s cards, I may have to start doing this. And what better opportunity than this weekend, when the members of my church choir and their families are scheduled to come over on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Christmas. Of course, this party’s more of a covered dish. I agreed to provide a ham and paper supplies, plus electricity, running water, climate control, and places to sit. And that’s about it. I really know how to throw a party, don’t I?