Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Last Supper

Tgiving decorations
tiny leaves on fishing line

I think I am rounding the bend on recovering from Thanksgiving. But I could (still) really use a nap.

It began in earnest on Wednesday with Keith and I picking up groceries from the store.
And my very nice mom brought me a double pumpkin pie latte which helped.

This was just the first load.

We closed the restaurant at 4 p.m. to prepare for Thursday. We didn't get much done before closing because there just isn't space in the prep area for more than a few people.

But after closing, everyone got to work.

Dad cooked bacon for the green beans.

Mom made sweet potato casserole.

Grandma assembled relish trays.

We celebrated my sister's 27th birthday after closing, hoping the food wouldn't slow us down too much later that night. Keith had to get up from the table to keep from falling asleep.

Keith and I stayed because Keith tends to obsess about things (Understatement of The Year) and we both know that food prep takes about 3-4x as long as you think it will and there was still a lot of work to do.

A little after 11p I was peeling the first 50 eggs for deviled eggs. I felt a little like Cool Hand Luke, only peeling not eating.

This smiley egg, in the second batch of 50 (closer to 3a on Thursday), made me laugh. We didn't serve it, though.

Standing at the prep sink, wondering if I would ever finish the mountain of eggs, Keith came up behind me and kissed me on the neck. He said, You smell like eggs. I said, You smell like turkey.

4 of the 8 turkeys

We'd both worked a full day on Wednesday (and Keith's actually reduced his average to 16-hour days!), so early into Thursday morning we were really struggling.

Keith took a catnap at table 3 after we'd been outside, hoping the cold would snap us awake.

We both swore, literally SWORE, this would be the LAST Thanksgiving we'd ever do.

We were just finishing up with the morning cook came in at 5a.
Home to sleep for a couple of hours and back at the restaurant at about 8:30a. Ugh.

Altogether we cooked 8 turkeys, 4 hams, a plethora of casseroles and salads, dressing... we had enough food to feed a small militia.

We made it through Thanksgiving day like zombies. We weren't incredibly busy, much less busy than we had planned for (a good thing, always good to have more food than you need as opposed to not enough)---a steady trickle most of the day.

But the best part of the day was seeing all of the older people who came in. People who probably wouldn't have had a Thanksgiving dinner otherwise. I mean, this isn't charity; we're running a business and they paid for the meal, but they were all very happy with dinner, said it was delicious, and almost everyone had leftovers to take home with them.

We also had quite a few to-go orders, including one for a woman whose husband had just had surgery. I'm glad we could provide good food for people like that on a day when food is so central.

I don't think Thanksgiving was a big money-maker for us, but over the long run it will pay off. We saw a lot of people we'd never seen before and heard nothing but excellent things about the food. I explained to one woman, who told me this was their first time in since "the new management", that we were focusing on fresh ingredients and fresh preparation and cooking from scratch and she said, I can tell. I can taste it.

And by the time next year rolls around we may have forgotten the pain of pulling an all-nighter. I don't know. We learned a lot about how to do it more efficiently next time. If there is a next time. Right now I am just thankful it's over.

Sometime Thursday mid-afternoon Keith and I rolled ourselves home and started to wind down for a long sleep. We went to the store and bought a pizza in case we woke up and wanted something (not turkey-related) to eat. We were asleep by 5p and woke up after 8a the next morning, the dogs staying in bed with us for that 15-hour sleep, just glad we were home.


Northend Nique said...

Wow! You guys are amazing!!! :) I was stressed about just making the turkey, green beans & potatoes. LOL

Chris said...

I shouldn't have looked at this, now I'm craving another plate full of vittles.

E said...

That is a lot of hard work.
The best of luck with your new business. May the customers increase and work load decrease!

(but please don't wear baseball caps to cook, eat and then go home in, hair nets anyone?)

April said...

I assure you that sanitation is at the top of our list of priorities and hats are considered acceptable hair restraints in kitchens (according to the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare).

Sarah said...

Jeez, April, I got teary just reading this post. You should submit it somewhere or something. So nice that you could feed people on such a food-centered day.