Friday, December 7, 2007

Open Hearth Dinner

The Street of Shops all set up for the dinner!

Thank you to EVERYONE who purchased tickets AND volunteered to help at our annual Open Hearth Dinner. What a spectacular event!

Chris and I are home now, and we are sure worn out. But everything went smoothly. Once you've done these a few times, you get your rhythm down and it just runs like clockwork.

Bill came at 3:30 and the two of them made the pumpkin soup and started cooking the chicken. Chris brought the beans to a boil, and then took them off the fire. That way they are done perfectly -- cooked, but still firm. He doesn't put anything in them, and boy are they good! Cooking in cast iron is the secret ingredient. The "bubble and squeak" (a red cabbage dish with apples, bacon and onions) simmered all afternoon.

Volunteers arrived at 5:00 to have pizza before everything began. Stephanie and Hallie had already set the tables, so all we had to do was pour water, ginger ale, and coffee into pitchers and carafes, and fill each glass with ice. All went according to plan.

Our guests began arriving just before 6:00. Chris invites them to come early so they can see how the food is prepared over the open hearth. Dinner was served promptly as 6:30. We had a few people come in late. All but one showed up -- apparently that guest was sick.

People seemed to enjoy the pumpkin soup more this year than in years past. We only had a few bowls that weren't completely empty. Next was the main course: chicken breast, bubble and squeak, and green beans. We were efficient in serving each table.

After dinner, came the piece de resistence -- the APPLE PIE! I whipped the cream myself before dinner began, and it was chilling in the refrigerator downstairs. As I used the electric mixer to whip it (one of our few concessions to modern technology) I wondered how on earth the pioneers could whip their cream by hand! It took me long enough with the electric mixer!!

Everyone lingered awhile over coffee. Some got up to look around the museum, or visit the shop, and we began taking pie plates and cups away.

Amazingly, we had just about everything cleaned up upstairs by 8:00! We spent another 35-40 minutes cleaning up in the kitchen, and we were all on our way out the door before 9:00.

It was a great event, that we can all be proud of. We showed our guests a good time, and we had fun doing it. This is one of the many reasons that I love my job, and the people we work with.

Here are some more pictures for your viewing enjoyment. There aren't any once the dinner got started, because I was too busy to take pictures!!

Chris prepares the "bubble & squeak."

Cutting the cabbage.

Bill frying the chicken.

Staff and volunteers before the dinner began.

Bill and Chris wearing their new "coooking shirts," handmade by volunteer Patty Lue Roosa.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

One of these years I am going to have to attend the dinner instead of just smelling it cooking all day! But I did get bread! YUM! Thanks