Tag holiday dinner

Corporate Team Building Event Flashback: Reflections by Parties That Cook Staff

This post is Confessions of a Parties That Cook Dishwasher, Part II. One of our tenured staff members reflects on one of her favorite corporate team building events from way back when…

Holiday Event

The party that I remember with great fondness was the last party in the Glory Month of the Glory Year: December 2007. We had 60 events that month, a phenomenal record. My last event of the month was at Thomas Fogarty Winery. The guests were a corporate group that was disbanding after completing a major project. After 5 years as a team, this Parties That Cook event was the last time they would all be together.

After the meal was made, they sat down to eat, drink and be merry. When the meal ended, each person at the table reflected on what the past five years had meant to them. Finally, as the sun was setting, Dr. Suess’ book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” was passed from person to person. Each one read a passage from the book starting with, “You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” and concluding with,”Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” I teared up as I heard each person read from the perfect book to end a chapter in one’s life before moving on to the next. I felt honored to be part of this last team effort.

Holiday Dinner PartyAs 2013 comes to an end, I have finally achieved what I’ve waited six years to do: break my old record of 17 events in December 2007 with 18 events this December. I feel very grateful to live in the Bay Area. The strong economy from which we derive much of our business is due largely in part to the thriving tech industry, and I look forward to an even more robust 2014 with Parties That Cook.

Thanksgiving Dinner Test Drive

Contributed by Guest Blogger Julie Reitz

thanksgiving stuffing

I was the lucky gal picked to recipe test Parties That Cook’s Thanksgiving themed menu items.

I’m the (unexpected) perfect candidate for this assignment because: a) I love cooking and can follow a recipe, but b) I have no culinary training and have never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey, let alone an entire Thanksgiving feast in my life! Which means… if I can’t make these recipes work, they’re clearly not idiot-proof and should be re-written. And, with those disclaimers recognized, I said: Bring on the bird!

I shopped the day before our faux thanksgiving feast, prepared a game plan and began cooking at 9am on the big day. Everything was unfolding beautifully – no major snafus to note – just a couple of pandering kitties (“what about us?”). My goal was to avoid any accusations like “What have you done?!” from Executive Chef Bibby, who was keeping a curious eye on my cooking.

I started by baking the yams for the Smashed Yams with Maple Syrup and the garlic for the Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I then prepped ingredients for the simple Gratin of Spinach. I popped the gratin into the oven straight away and began to prep the Easy Breezy Cranberry Sauce. The kitties were getting restless and I too was starting to hear my stomach growl….

About 6 hours later, we had a table full of beautiful dishes and I called the master chef in to taste the goods. The menu included Brined and Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy with Bourbon; Apple, Cornbread, Sausage Stuffing and Pumpkin-Gingersnap Tiramisu.

I held my breath, as Bibby pondered each taste test: “let’s put those yams under the broiler for a couple more minutes…”, “less alcohol in the cranberries, and a little more salt….” Several suggestions later, the recipes had been completely tweaked, and it made all the difference. Times like these make me wish there was such a thing as a “pocket chef!”

As a final test, Bibby suggested I prepare the giblets for her hungry kitties. “Giblets?” Even though I’m from Texas and love meat, its preparation and overall handling is not my cup of tea. In fact, the first time I roasted a chicken, I left the bag of goodies in the bird and the house filled with smoke!

Meanwhile, this turkey and I weren’t exactly on good terms- he simply would not listen to me physically urging him to tuck his wings under – after a brief wrestling match, Bibby came to the rescue. With a trepid look of fear on my face, I presented the kitties with boiled turkey innards, and endured suggestions from Bibby for the next day or two along the lines of: “How about giving the cats some heart today?”

In the end, my first Thanksgiving feast turned out fine and the test menu a success. My boyfriend and I got to celebrate an early Thanksgiving, Bibby and I enjoyed subsequent days of turkey soup, and I simply had the best time cooking those yummy recipes and snapping photos of the finished product.

But those giblets…