Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mac & Cheese Shortage Sends Party Guests Into Temper Tantrum

Macaroni and cheese. Who doesn't love it? It's the ultimate comfort food here in America, because it's not only delicious, but it's also full of cheese and the beloved carbohydrate. Macaroni and cheese has always been my favorite food. However, I don't think I'd start an argument with a caterer over it...
I was helping a friend of mine--we'll call her Sue--cater an event recently, and I was very excited to do so. Not only do I enjoy when I am given the opportunity to help cater events with her, but this event seemed like it was going to be full of fun, laid back people like Sue and myself.
Here's a little background...
When we cater an event, we have a plan in mind to keep things running as smoothly as possible. Not only is it our job to feed the guests, but it's also our job to keep them happy. Therefore, we do our absolute best to keep the buffet table full of every item at all times.
At the particular event we catered, there were seven items that needed to be heated. With a double buffet line, we knew we had to stay on top of things because we could run out of something twice as quickly. Therefore, the buffet was full of 10 to 15 pounds of every item, with another 10 pounds of each ready in the warmers in order to refill the buffet table. Once we filled or replaced something, there was more room in the warmer to heat another five or 10 pounds, which takes about 10 to fifteen minutes.
One of the side dishes included in this buffet was macaroni and cheese: every one's favorite food. Just minutes after the guests began helping themselves to the buffet, the macaroni and cheese was dwindling quickly. We grabbed the heated 10 pounds and filled the buffet tray before the last scoop was taken.
What I'm going to say next, however unbelievable, is the absolute truth. Less than five minutes after refilling the macaroni and cheese, it was gone. Except for a few forsaken noodles and unreachable cheddar cheese, the pan was empty.
Five minutes was not enough time for the second 10 pound batch of macaroni to be heated. So I politely told the guests that unfortunately, the macaroni and cheese would not be ready for another five or 10 minutes.
What did they do? They huffed and puffed, and refused to stand to the side or sit down so that the other guests behind them could continue to help themselves to dinner.
After five minutes, the macaroni and cheese wasn't quite hot enough, so I asked those holding up the line to have a seat while they waited so that others could help themselves to the buffet. They groaned, rolled their eyes and made rude comments as they made their way to their seats. Still, others refused to move.
With nothing left to do but wait, we checked on the other trays of food and made sure they were full, reassuring everyone that the macaroni and cheese was still going to make it's second appearance in its place on the buffet table.
Just as the holy noodles were being taken out of the warmer, I noticed a group of people waiting at the place where the empty tray was.
"Where's the mac and cheese?" "There's still not mac and cheese?" "What are they doing about the mac and cheese?"
Those who had sat down were back, and they were unhappy that they had not yet received their over abundance of carbohydrates in less than eight life-changing minutes.
As Sue rushed to the buffet line, hot macaroni and cheese in hand, one woman said, "I'm waiting for her to bring me my mac and cheese."
Sue kept a smile plastered on her face and quietly made her way back to the prep station without saying a word. For this I give her credit, because I'm not sure I would have been able to keep my cool.
About 20 minutes after the buffet line initially began, 35 pounds of macaroni and cheese had been devoured. The only problem: there wasn't any left, yet not every guest had made their way through the line. There we stood, explaining that this had never happened before, as Sue always makes more than enough food to serve the number of guests. Apparently, the host didn't realize how much her family and friends loved macaroni and cheese.
As the last few stragglers made their way through the buffet line, we looked around at the tables closest to us and saw the problem. At least nine unattended plates were piled to the sky with macaroni and cheese and nothing else. Why? Because most people, especially children, took too much of the sacred noodles and cheese and couldn't finish it. Once we started clearing plates, that little number nine rose, and rose, and rose.
What did people have to say after dinner?
"The mac and cheese was phenomenal!" "I heard your mac and cheese was great; it's a shame I didn't get to try any." "Every one's raving about the mac and cheese!"
My response to them was simple: "You might want to take a look around you and thank those who took enough to feed an army, only to go ahead and waste it without a second thought to those who didn't get any to begin with."
The moral of the story is this: Don't take more food than you know you can eat! How many of us can hear our parents, as clearly as if it were yesterday, saying "You'll eat everything you take or you'll eat it for breakfast!"
Maybe Sue should have a banner made with that slogan for her next event...
Also, don't be so inconsiderate and greedy, glutton! The next guy in line loves macaroni and cheese just as much as you do, so think of how he'd feel if he saw you scoop an eight pound pile onto your plate without leaving any for him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOVE THIS!!! Very well written! Wish I could have been there.