Gearing up for the Sabbath feast is vital if you are going to pull if off. By gearing up, I mean figuring out what’s cookin’ sometime during the week, and then gathering all your ingredients and safely tucking them into your house before Saturday morning.Â Saturday morning, as we all know,Â is going to fill up with lots of other things.
This week I am making beef burgundy, one of my faves. We are planning on serving it at the Church Feast this January, so a group of ladies on the planning committee are doing some sample runs at it, checking ingredients, measuring exactly for the recipe we’ll be handing out to all our volunteer cooks.
So I got all my stuff ready yesterday so I could dive in today. Doesn’t seem to matter what kinds of time-saving tips I use, it still takes a couple hours for me to prepare. But it is well worth it.Â Nevertheless, I have to start early, avoiding the rush, so everything is in the pot and the mess is cleaned up.Â Doug puts on some jazzy music for me, and I have a great time in my wonderful kitchen. Then I advise that you all take a break like I do. I do my best to take a breather and put my feet up. This is when I can sit down and maybe sip a little leftover burgundy with my lunch, maybe even write a blog post.
After reviving from the first stage of the prep, I will turn to the table. This is very easy for me these days since seven family members are out of the country and the five college girls who lived with us last year have moved out and on. So a dozen fewer is quite a dent. Back in the days when I needed every leaf for my table (and we have eleven of them stashed away), I also had my “girls downstairs” to help with the project. We shared many a laugh over the place card arrangement. It was always the hardest part of the whole table setting sequence. And it’s very important because you have to know where to put the booster chairs and who gets the big wine glasses. But now I can do this all by myself without needing to make a diagram on paper.
Now for all of you with kids, remember that I don’t have any little toddlers underfoot, so I have an open shot at the day. But for you busy mamas out there, be kind to yourselves. By that I mean, don’t be making beef burgundy unless you make it on a free afternoon during the week and freeze it for Sabbath. Keep your menu simple if you have little people that need your attention. There is no point tackling complicated menus and setting yourselves up for temptation to be grumpy. It’s the Sabbath!
Next week we will be keeping our four Wilson grandkids for the day, so you can bet I will be putting a roast or ham in the oven, and I’ll probably shoot to make the cheese potatoes a day or two ahead. You moms just have to keep it simple or you will be sorely tempted to give up on the Sabbath celebrations all together. Now I realize some of you adore spending the day in the kitchen creating spectacular concoctions, and I’m certainly not trying to discourage you from using your gifts. What is complicated from my perspective may be easy for you. Nevertheless, if you are a busy mom, and the kids are going to be fussing and the whole house is going to fall apart if you are “creating” in the kitchen, then you may need to have a plan B until the kids are a little older.
I love setting the table, the more colorful the better. It sets the tone for the meal and it makes my whole house look beautiful. Flowers are a must. One week I was fresh out of flowers and I dusted around for come candles as a centerpiece. It seemed pretty pitiful. One of my “girls” disappeared for a while and returned with a beautiful bouquet. She just couldn’t bear to see my table flower-less either! And my little red pitchers (or the white one or the silver one) work great for vases.
One of my trade secrets is my rolls with honey butter. I have to blame this on a friend of mine who first introduced me to the frozen Texas rolls. That was my downfall. Now they are standard Sabbath fare because everyone adores them. Are they homemade? No. But they are home-baked, and I think that counts.
Well, I must go finish cleaning up a few pans and start in on the table. Hope you have a happy Sabbath!