Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another one bites the dust. . .

Here in our park, Restful Valley, we pay a small assessment every year to pay for the upkeep and management of our park hall. Our park is owned by the residents and we own our lots and everything on them, so it is important to do what we can to keep our assessments low. So every winter, we hold park dinners with the proceeds going into the fund from which to pay the park expenses. These are known as "street dinners" because the residents of each street host a different dinner. These start in January. We already had a "potato bake" and "ham ball" dinner which was kind of like a large meatball made with ham, sausage, etc. It was very good. Yesterday was our "pork loin dinner" put on by the Birch Street gang, which includes us.

The day started at 8 a.m. with everyone going to the hall with their potato peelers. We peeled, cut and washed the potatoes, then put them in pots to start cooking later. We arrived at 8 a.m. and by 8:05 we were done peeling. Yes, that's right. Amazing, isn't it? But with 15 or so peelers, it doesn't take long and the potatoes are huge. Actually, there are always early risers who go in much earlier and start, but we aren't asked to be there before 8. So it works very well. By 8:40, all the potatoes were washed and in pots. While we were doing that, others were removing the packaging from around loins and washing them. Then they placed them on foil and put a can of mushroom soup on the meat, an envelope of dry onion soup mix, and rosemary. Then they were placed three to a tray and put into the refrigerator. There were 26 of them. The next event started at 1 p.m. I peeked in from time to time in the morning just to make sure Shirley didn't need any help, but the only thing there was to do was turn the potato pots on at 10 a.m.

Back at 1 p.m., we set up to mash potatoes. Three of us stood at the island mashing potatoes in large bowls. Someone was cutting the butter and cream cheese to go into the potatoes and we added a little sour cream and milk as well. Another masher stood at the counter. An hour later, all the potatoes were mashed and put into large roasters to keep warm. Dishes were already washed and put up. The ovens had been preheated and the loins were put into the ovens to bake for 2 1/2 hours. The corn and green beans were put into the roasters and turned on warm, so at 2 p.m. we came back home and put our feet up for an hour before heading back at 3 p.m.

At 3 p.m. we walked back and things really started happening fast. We had sold 410 tickets, 10 more than we shoot for, but we usually have a few no-shows. Not so today. We are always ready about 15 minutes early because when we arrived back at 3 p.m. there were already people waiting for the serving to start. The dinners are THAT good. At 3:45 we started serving. People got a nice portion of roast pork loin, mashed potatoes with pork gravy, green beans with bacon or corn, fresh baked roll/butter, cranberries or applesauce, cake for dessert, coffee and/or iced tea. The line was steady with just a few lulls in activity. . . just enough to restock the rolls or butter, etc. I did several jobs, starting with the dishes. Since we had three doing dishes and the roll server was late, I switched to passing out the rolls and butter. Alein arrived late because her husband was sick and she dropped her cake outside the motorhome on the way over. But there was cake left over, so that didn't matter and we worked together the rest of our shift.

Serving hours were 4-6, but at 5:30 everything was quiet, so Terry and I headed back to the motorhome to feed Neal. Mom and Dad had eaten at the hall earlier and Mom was there at the motorhome with Neal. We rested for a few minutes and I headed back up to the hall.

I don't think we served anymore people after I got back there, so we continued with the cleanup which had been on-going all day long. Everyone pitched in, no one balked at any job, and at 7 p.m. we turn off the lights and walked out. It had been a long, busy day, but not too stressful, except perhaps for Shirley who was the leader of the pack. But with everyone pitching in, the dinner was a great success and everyone enjoyed their meal. And we are done for another year. Now we can sit back and enjoy the other street dinners. We have a spaghetti dinner and a chicken dinner coming up yet.

Yesterday hit 87* in the valley. I think it is safe to assume spring is on the way and the cold temperatures are behind us. Today will be a day to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Till next time. . .



Janice said...

Sounds tiring but fun! The meal sounded delicious, humm, any leftovers?

Dale said...

Yes, they do have some leftovers. They sell the pork loin 4 slices for a dollar. I brought home smashed potatoes to make potato pancakes and green beans we had last night with our barbequed short ribs. We made $1700 on the dinner for the park!

Yum yum.


Anonymous said...

Great organization! Sounds like a group I would like to be involved in - no Prima Donnas:)

87 degrees!! What a relief! We are still cold here but not BITTER cold. Day temps in the 40s, but still 0 - 10 first thing in the morning. Snow expected Thursday:)