Monday, September 20, 2010

29. HOSTELLERIE BOURGUIGNONNE—Feeding the Multitudes

Chef Lauriot was very careful with his money. This meant that he drove himself and me very hard. To make a few extra francs, he had agreed to cater a party of 800 at the civic center in Macon. These folks were attending an annual green-grocers convention. Yes, there were still small business persons; in the U.S., such persons had long since gone bankrupt, driven out of business by supermarket corporations.

To prepare for this large party, the chef and I boned 35 ducks, stuffed them and made galantines. My 59 year old brain has not retained that memory; or, perhaps someone should hypnotize me to activate the traces that have gone rusty. We also had to cut up and marinate 105 roosters.

We drove the coq au vin, the galantine, cases of canned petits pois provided by the grocers and many crates of wine to the civic center. The chef and I and one assistant hired for the occasion personned the kitchen. When we arrived, there were 60 waiters, and they set to work, popping corks out of bottles of red wine in order to slake the thirst of 800 becs fins.

We had to work with 5 small stoves. Imagine reheating that much food on 5 stoves! The chef decided to close all the doors to the kitchen in order warm everything up, including us.

I have no idea how the 800 green-grocers liked their lunch, but I’m sure glad the dessert was an ice cream cake!

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