I’m getting married in October, and we’re doing our own catering for our informal beach wedding.
That means we need something that is easy to serve, easy to eat, and easy to keep at serving temperatures without electricity. I also don’t want to chain anyone to the food tables, forcing them to stir pots and serve food like Cinderella has arrived. I want everyone who is there to be able to enjoy themselves. I also have a rather strict budget to stick to, and won’t have a head count to know exactly how many people to feed until about a month ahead of time.
The joys of planning your own wedding, right?
We have portable stoves, so providing heat isn’t an issue. For cold foods, large trays with ice can hold many containers of cold foods at safe temperatures, especially in the milder weather of late October. It’s just that for the hot foods, not having an attendant to monitor and stir can quickly resort to scorched food, even with a low simmer, if it isn’t a liquid enough concoction.
So, I immediately ran through my soup/stews to find something that would work, and the next thought that went was chili. I kept thinking, and we also have the option of a “steam table” version of keeping things hot, by using a rack with alcohol burners, a full sized tray with water, and then half size trays inside of that containing the food with a cushion of hot water to prevent scorching. It would require someone checking it periodically to make sure there was adequate water in the tray, but it’s a lot less fussing than stirring a pot would be. That increases the possibilities of dishes to serve too.
Logistics come into it too. I need to be able to have it ready except for a final heating, the day before. Who’s got time to cook the last few hours before they get married? In addition, it’s about an hour from the coastal region where I live in Mississippi to where we’re holding the wedding, (that was determined by Hancock County’s policies regarding events like this and their dog friendly policies. Our home county, Jackson County, wasn’t friendly towards a beach wedding or dogs on the beach) so the food needs to be reasonably easy to transport. Once it arrives on location, it can be heated in large pots on the portable stoves and then put into the steam table to be kept at serving temperatures.
Gotta love logistics too.
Gumbo, beef stew, pasta dishes…
Decisions are difficult when you have so many choices.
So what would really be the best choice? I’m not sure yet!