The No-Brainer That J9 Forgot
In planning a menu, for heaven’s sake – consider when it will be consumed!
In mid-April, when the Squeeze and I met with the catering manager at Oakway Wine and Deli in Eugene, it was cold outside. And drizzly. And it had been cold and drizzly for as long as we could remember. We thought, perhaps even justifiably, that it would be cold and drizzly forever, even during the last week of June. So when we sat in Jessica’s office, snuggly in our late Winter sweaters, to taste Oakway’s blackened fish and roasted chicken and skewed prawns, the weather did not cross our minds once. Or, more likely, it did – probably we were grateful to be out of the cold and drizzly weather and inside the warm office, eating hot, delicious, free food.
So the Squeeze and I put in an order for our event – spicy chicken skewers marinated with cilantro and lime, blackened cajun salmon filets, lemon rice pilaf, sauteéd green vegetables. We ordered fruit and crudité trays and hummus and pita bread. We ordered a custom salad bar, too – arguably our smartest move in menu planning. The Squeeze and I are dedicated salad people, and we have strong opinions about how one ought to be constructed. And so for this meal, a make-yourself salad with all of our favorite extras: dried cranberries, radishes, snap peas, red onion.
When the day arrived, we were quite in the midst of a most impressive heat wave. Lightning flashed in the skies over the McKenzie River at night, illuminating the tree line and momentarily silencing the river. I am told that Oregon caught fire by some of that lightning. During the day, hot winds blew up the river. The Squeeze said that it felt like having a cow sigh on the back of his neck. Eeks. The cold and the drizzle of April was a distant memory, totally incongruent with the ninety-seven degree afternoon on which we wed.
Our guests moved their tables and chairs three times before the meal was over trying to outrun the aggressive sunshine. The salad was a hit, but not the hot, spicy food. Though delicious and beautiful, it was just too much on such a day. It was even too hot for the lemon curd- and marionberry-filled lemon-poppyseed paisley cake, made by Sweet Life Patisserie. A cake that good should not require a second thought but, alas, I only made it through one piece. Perhaps we should have brought over the Snoopy Sno-Cone maker instead.
Despite the heat and our inability to overindulge because of it, the day was still lovely. Oakway was gracious enough to serve my first batch of raspberry wine, which was surprisingly dry, refreshing, and incredibly fruity. And with help from friend and photographer Kristi, the Innkeeper at Eagle Rock Lodge made a gorgeous edible bouquet for me. Can you spot the artichoke? It’s just a little droopy because, you know, we were expecting a cooler, more drizzly day.