Mar 20 2009

We Pulled It Off

Tuesday was the big corned beef and cabbage feed at St. Rose, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  I’d never helped with or even been to one of those before, so I didn’t really understand why people seemed to think it was going to be a lot more work than the soup and sandwich dinners we’ve done.  Now I know.  I didn’t get in on the preparations, and I couldn’t be there at 5am like some folks were, but I was tired enough after ten hours of taking money and cleaning up afterward.  A lot of people really put in a tremendous effort.

The corned beef had to be cooked a couple days in advance, cooled, sliced, and then heated back up again.  The potatoes had to be mashed that morning and throughout the day, so they’d be fresh when we started serving.  We were open for two meals instead of just one, and there was even a decent trickle of traffic all afternoon between the two rushes.  We served somewhere around five times as many people as at our last meal, so it’s no wonder everyone was wiped out by the end of the day.

We actually ran out of the homemade corned beef by about 1:30, and had to scramble to buy a couple ready-to-serve batches.  Those weren’t as good as what our cooks had prepared, but people still seemed happy with it.  Next year we’ll have a better idea how much we need.  There was also music throughout the day, which surprisingly never got on my nerves.  Normally, eight hours in a room with live music would set my teeth on edge, but all the musicians were very good.  There was a nice variety that fit the time of day, with upbeat Irish jigs and sing-alongs when the place was full during dinner and supper, and quieter harp and flute pieces for the slow times.

Some people really take St. Patrick’s Day seriously, don’t they?  Of course, most people were wearing green (I even remembered to wear my only green shirt), and the Irish band members were really decked out, some even in leprechaun-ish costumes.  But plenty of other people were dressed up for the day too.  One lady even showed me her wooden Celtic cross with her Irish genealogy written on the back.  That was pretty cool.

I heard that next time we might be doing jambalaya.  I used to make that a lot and really liked it, but the carbs are too high these days. (Hmm, maybe I could substitute riced cauliflower for the rice?  Worth a try.)  Sounds like a good, unique meal for drawing a crowd, though—and a heck of a lot easier than corned beef and cabbage!

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