Unbeknownst to me, my husband was plotting behind my back to host a little garden party. By the time I found out about it, there was no turning back. People had been invited and some had accepted and the party was to take place in seven days. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I love to give parties and that when I decide to have one, I go all out. From the menu, to the drinks I plan to serve, and right on down the line to the napkins, cutlery, serving utensils and the dishes. It is a lot of work, totally self-imposed.
Some would say that I go overboard, but I disagree. My parties are always well received and everyone has a grand time. But then there is the clean up and the rest up and sometimes it takes me a while to rest up and get things back in order. Now my husband always helps with the cleanup, but he doesn’t know where everything goes, so I do that.
His thinking was that if he didn’t tell me about the party, I would not be able to do any work and therefore would not be tired after. He would do everything from ordering the food, to buying the beverages, to setting up outside and making sure that the garden was neat and tidy. He did work at it, I must say and I stayed out of it until it was clear, on Friday, that things would simply not be finished in time. So, I offered my help, which he gladly accepted. I set my sights on party mode and made a list of what still needed to be done. Party dishes, glasses and cutlery to counted and washed if necessary, food quantities confirmed, food table set outside with plastic tablecloth in place and securely fastened with weights that “little sister’ gave to me as a gift one year. make sure the furniture is clean, make sure that we have enough ice made for drinks and the list goes on.
But the “biggy” in all of this is the food. I always make the food for our parties and family celebrations. I have only recently started adding an item or two from a vegan caterer. I do this for a couple of reasons. As a vegan, I feel that it is important to support vegan enterprises whenever I can. Less importantly, I am trying to divest myself of the idea that I have to do everything myself in order for the event to be “perfect”.
So, when my husband asked where he could order the food, I gave him a couple of names.
Cafe Juicy Lotus in NDG is a busy little catering, takeout and lunch place that wasintroduced to me by my daughter. Gigi, who seems to handle the catering orders, is delightful, enthusiastic and anxious to provide you with food she says is,
…. delicious! You are going to love it”.
BTW, Gigi also gives fun and informative cooking classes, if you are interested.
There are some savory items and lots of delectable cupcakes,cakes, cookies, squares, and the like, on display for purchase.
Chef Veganessa, on the West Island is one of my favorite vegan shops because it is close by and therefore, very
convenient and the food is good. If I don’t feel like cooking one night I can always head over there and be sure to find some delectable salads and main dishes ready and waiting to grace our dinner plates.
So, the food was ordered, picked up, stored in the fridge overnight and served to our guests who found it to be very tasty. Most of the guests know that I serve only plant based food in my home, so no need to point this out. As my daughter says, the enjoyment of food is about taste and no doubt about it, plant based food is the best.
What did I learn from this experience? -that more and more, there is fantastic plant based food out there for vegans and non vegans alike to buy and that parties don’t have to be made from scratch to be fun.
What did my husband learn from this experience? -that parties are a lot of work and that he must never plan one without first getting the approval of the party planner (that would be me) before sending out the invites LOL!
Vegan Annie’s Handy Kitchen Tips
If you are looking for simple, ordering the food is a no brainer.
Finger foods cut down on cutlery and permit people to schmooze and eat at their leisure without having to balance a plate, a utensil and a beverage glass.
If cost is an issue, chips, artisan breads (olive, for instance) store bought dips like hummus and baba gannoush, as well as veggies and fresh fruit are good options. I don’t usually recommend chips, because they are a junk food, but this is a party and once in a while probably won’t do a great deal of harm.
Plan plant based parties. Your guests know about and eat fruits and veggies daily . Throw in some nuts, beans and grains and you are good to go! .
May all beings be happy and free.