Monday, July 26, 2010

A View From the Kitchen......Stake Youth Conference July 14-18 2010

Me and Cindy and the Guacamole!

In all of our planning meetings it never occurred to me that feeding 400 people at a time would be any different than feeding 50 or so at girl's camp or that one stint we had of feeding the masses on a Stake Youth Trek.  But I was wrong.  This was very different because #1 we (our little team of 5) were doing all the cooking and #2 we were doing all the clean up.  Above and beyond that we were doing all the shopping, hauling, storing, hauling again, running to the store for last minute items, staging ice water at all the different locations and on and on it goes.  The logistics of all of this were at times mind boggling.  The weather was the hottest of the year.  And did I say there were lots of people at this thing?  From the Stake Center we were doing two meals a day plus getting the food ready for the members who were doing breakfast in the mornings.  We would start getting those boxes ready right after dinner so that people could come and pick them up by 8pm.  We also had several nights of serving watermelon or brownies for the evening events.  Wow!  It was a lot! 

We were blessed to have access to some walk in coolers (I will not disclose the location here as it is top secret and if I told you then I'd have to kill you!) and so we were constantly making trips to load and unload food there....but it was such a blessing to have them, I don't know how we could have pulled this off without them!  Luckily we had lots of people that pitched in to help us.  Lots of the Stake Young Men's Presidency that did our hauling and fetching for us and many, many willing hands that stepped in to serve and prepare food with us!  In fact Cindy Knudsen, wife of the Stake Young Men's president just finally started showing up full time with us in the kitchen and was there helping with everything...she was amazing!  Thanks so much Cindy!  

Our first lunch on thursday was so amazing I just HAVE to describe it in detail!  In the planning stages, each of us on the committee sort of headed up the planning and preparation for one of the meals.  Janine See was over this first lunch and I could not believe the amount of work she put in to have this beautiful home made lunch.  It was Taco Salads which in my world could have been pretty simple with lots of pre made stuff....but not in Janine's world.  She and Danelle Dickerson had pressure cooked all the chicken (which was delicious) and did all the beans (two kinds) from scratch.  Then Janine had made by hand probably 4 gallons of salsa (yummy), she did acquiesce and buy the chips, but then the day of, dropped off a case full of avocados to make fresh guacamole for 400.  And all the lettuce had to be wash and chopped by hand because she doesn't believe in pre bagged lettuce!  So Cindy and I got busy scooping avocados and the race to lunch began!  I have to say it was big hit and a spectacular, yummy lunch!  Wow!  She had really thrown it down (As Bobby Flay would say) so now we all had to live up to her legend!

A View From the Kitchen......Stake Youth Conference July 14-18 2010

Lots of Love!
My helper Mackay!
Scripture Study Time
One of the funnest things we did was to have the kids eat at the stake members homes for breakfast.  So the kids were divided into groups for this event and each group had two counselors a girl and a boy from the singles ward.  We assigned each group to eat at a different house each morning.  We planned the menus and then passed out the fixings to each family who had volunteered to take this on.  And so it was that on Thursday I had 20 kids with their counselors showing up at my door!  I put them to work hauling up tables and chairs and set them up to eat out on the deck, which is a little bit shady in the morning.  We had a menu of waffles, eggs and bacon and I added berries, whip cream and fresh fruit.  We made introductions, blessed and passed food and chatted and joked our way through this yummy breakfast.  I was very impressed with this group which happened to be the one that Mackay was in.  His counselors led them in scripture study and gave them some suggestions and then gave them time to go and study the scriptures on their own.  Afterward they helped clear up the tables and dishes and then they headed off, back to the Stake Center to begin their day of classes and service projects.  Love, love, loved this first morning!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A View from the Kitchen......Stake Youth Conference July 14-18 2010

I just wanted to take a moment a jot down some of my memoirs from our most recent Stake Youth Conference. Brad and I were asked to help out on the food committee and we are always excited to help feed crowds and so we said "YES!" With enthusiasm.....somehow feeding 400 sounds much easier in the planning stages....and we are talking feeding 400 breakfast, lunch and dinner for three solid days! Whew! We had no idea what we were signing up for. However, I am so glad we did, it turned out to be such an amazing experience for me and I was only the kitchen help!

The first activity was a Jon Schmidt concert out at the American Fork Amphitheater. We were planning to just feed everyone a popsicle and at the last minute realized that the kids would be there from 5-9pm and probably be very hungry. So we ordered 500 soft tacos to go.......and that turned out to be the easiest things we did all week! The concert was so much fun, if you have ever seen Jon Schmidt in concert, he is fantastic. A funny thing happened in the middle of the concert. He asked for a volunteer to come down and ad lib with him on the piano but he wanted them to know a specific blues scale that he would be using. Mackay was the first one with his hand in the air, he loves to play by ear and jam on the piano, so I knew he could do it. But Jon wanted who ever came down to know that scale and tell him the specific notes. Well, Mackay didn't know it and so he kept asking for someone who did. Finally a kid raised his hand and said I know it but I did it with you 3 years ago at EFY and I think someone else should have the opportunity this time. He looked over at Mackay and said, I can tell you the scale. But Jon kept asking if anyone knew the scale! Finally Mackay just jumped up and yelled "I BELIEVE IN MYSELF!" And everyone started cheering and Jon said, "Okay, come on down!" So he ran down there and Jon showed him the scale and then they took off and totally jammed together. Mackay totally rocked the house and he had the moves and everything. It was soooo much fun! When they finished with their big ending, everyone went crazy and Mackay took his bows. Jon said, "Hey Mackay, you are the quickest learner I have every seen!" Then I couldn't resist and I yelled out "Finally all those piano lessons paid off!" Everyone laughed!  Afterward lots of people were coming up and commenting to Mackay on what a good job he had done and pretty soon this little group of ladies came over and one of them said.  "Mackay, the best part for me was when you stood up and said "I believe in MYSELF!  It brought tears to my eyes!  It is so amazing to believe in yourself!"  I have to say I agree!  And that was just day #1......more to come!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What is it about books?

Just walking into a library is a euphoric experience for me. Can it be the slightly musty smell as you walk in the door? Is it the glimpse of the beautiful illustrations as I walk through the picture books? Is it the promise of a new read, so incredible that I know I won't be able to put it down? What is it exactly? I have asked myself this time and time again. I don't know the answer, I just know that every time I walk through those doors I sigh a great big sigh of bliss!

Which brings me to the other day when I was meandering about, running errands here and there and suddenly I found myself in Barnes and Noble. I didn't mean to go there, or more clearly I didn't NEED to go there but suddenly here I was none the less. I began by just cruising through the books on sale, one $5.99 book wouldn't hurt. As I perused the sale books, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the store, checking out yoga books and cook books (of which I already own too many) and then I got to the self help section. I picked up a book called "Women, Food and God" by Geneen Roth and I sat down in the really comfortable chair so aptly provided by Barnes & Noble and I began to read......and I couldn't put it down. I looked at the price $24.00, seriously? I did not want to buy a book for $24.00 freaking dollars but what was I to do? I was already through the first chapter and I couldn't put it down. Oh curse this weakness I have for books.

One of my fondest desires is to have custom book shelves installed in my living room, all the way to the top of my really tall ceilings, so that I could have enough room to line up all the books I love in one place. Instead of having them stashed around the house in various and sundry places.

Well, I decided, what is one more book to the stash? Aren't I worth $24.00 any way? So that is how I came home with one more book and since I was buying that one I added two more from the $5.99 sale table. Just for good measure! Sigh! Someday I will re-examine my obsession with books but in the meantime I'm just going to go and finish my new great read!
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