I’ve always had multiple jobs. Idle hands and all that have always kept me busy. My mother instilled this work ethic at an early age. She was granted the nickname “Rasputin” during the subcontracting of my parents’ cottage in Westbrook. Mind you we were the subcontractors to save some money as they winterized the knotty pine love nest by the Sound. We took the roof off board by board, shingle by shingle. The wood salvaged was to become a fence in a future project. My mother ran around to make sure no one was leaning on their crowbars or shovels for too long. There was work to be done and Rasputin was making sure her will was felt. Flooring was ripped up, dumpsters were filled . The dumpster needed to be packed in such away that every iota was packed to potential. The cost of hauling the beast away was big. Sinks were yanked out. Windows were stashed. The tiniest of us gathered the nails in coffee cans. Strictly to unnerve Uno and Due (Pa & Ma)Sister Sal and I danced a polka on the roof top while de-shingeling. We were the only ones not scared of heights and where was I going with this anyway? Ah, yes. Working.
So Ma had us rolling cold cuts for deli trays before we even could make our beds. There was an assembly line to produce macerated strawberries (we had picked in the blazing sun) to be frozen for winter treats. There was always a soccer supper a church bake sale, a baby shower or other odyssey that Ma would be providing food service for. And it was always good. As I got older and got worked more by Rasputin I started to take note. The dinners she would arrange with my Aunties were always delicious, and well presented. They were assembled with ease. There would be a pile of prep, and then it was gone. The pots were simmering, chafing pans were in the ovens and counters were quickly wiped down. If you blinked you would have missed it. Low and behold everyone would soon be eating and laughing the night away. They made meals out of garden bounty, leftovers and crazy new products. Auntie Eva had me using rice vinegar 20 years ago, and eating caesar salad 30 years ago. Their confidence was remarkable and the proof really was in the pudding. They threw great dinner parties no matter the location. I took note knowing I would be doing this one day. There was a common joke that it was another ‘fine Crack’d Pot catering event’ pulled off our of a station wagon by a working mom and bunch of her kids.
So several baby/engagement showers, picnics, St Patty’s day dinners, box lunches, NYEve celebrations etc later, here I stand on their shoulders. Catering is an extra job that breaks up my rut of waiting tables, marrying people, auditioning and torturing my family. I don’t advertise, it’s not a real business in most senses, I rely on referrals and come with excellent references. That’s the confidence I got in my DNA. My little nickname for my ‘catering company’ is Fine & Dandy. Fine for buddy Eric who always has fine advice and knowledge and Dandy well…..you know the rest. Eric has helped me on many events and did a bang up job on my 40th bday soirre (70-80 people, open house hors d’oeuvre) This weekend is Raul and Liz’s Summer Buffet for 30 people. Being as DIO is here to make you taste a better life we’re going to Dish out the menu and the prep. you’ll sample some great tastes and see where I lack good taste. We’ll share the execution, documentation and blessing of the event. This could go horribly wrong but what the hell else would I do on a Saturday?? I’m fairly confident it won’t. I’m shopped detailed and have an excellent sous chef on board for her first event. So tune in for updates, come hungry and get reading, we’re gonna dish it out.