Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota
Husband and I recently volunteered to provide Friday supper and Saturday breakfast and lunch at a retreat for approximately thirty people affiliated with Western ND Synod of the ELCA. The attendees were candidacy committee members and spouses, candidates for rostered ministry, seminary faculty, and the western ND bishop and synod staff. The retreat took place at the Badlands Ministries Bible Camp near Medora in the ND Badlands.
The camp is about 10 miles south of Medora in a new location near the Bully Pulpit Golf Course. Medora has no grocery store, so we hauled in everything we needed for the weekend meals. We had never seen the kitchen at the new retreat center, so we also hauled in all the pots, pans, and cooking equipment we might possibly need. It proved unnecessary, as the kitchen was marvelously equipped, but we were prepared for anything.
We started planning the menu weeks before the event, choosing quantity recipes that could be prepared ahead of time and frozen. This was our penultimate menu:
- Charcoal grilled hamburgers from grass-fed SD Lutheran Herefords, with all the trimmings
- Potato salad (Mrs. Untiedts’ recipe from the Grace Lutheran Cookbook from Luverne)
- Coleslaw (Mrs. Iveland’s recipe from the Grace Lutheran Cookbook)
- 3 kinds of egg bakes from Duluth’s own Beatrice Ojakangas’ casserole cookbook
- Cantaloupe and honeydew melon
- Homemade jelly
- Smoked brisket
- Butter chicken
- Curried mixed vegetables
- 2 peach crisps
- Pecan bars
We also had a variety of chips, dips, raw veggies, fruit, quick breads, sodas, water, and unlimited coffee for people to have between meals. (And butter. Lots and lots of butter. And ice. 60 pounds of ice to keep the sodas and water cold in a large cooler.)
I had a strict food prep schedule for the weeks before the retreat, with multiple lists for what we needed to do. We were well on schedule, not even daunted by our dishwasher breaking and being unusable for the two weeks prior to the retreat.
The week before the retreat I got irrational, worrying that we didn’t have enough food for lunch on Saturday. This worry coincided with a monumental decision by husband about bratwurst. Husband is from Sheboygan, WI. He is a slow and deliberate thinker. After twenty eight years of ND bratwurst, he announced that he would now only eat bratwurst that were authentically local Sheboygan brats, like those from Miesfeld’s Market in Sheboygan. What is more, he decided that the only buns worthy of such brats were the hard rolls from the venerable City Bakery in Sheboygan. That led me to say, “Why don’t we phone Miesfeld’s and order some brats for the retreat! You can grill them the night before!”
Fifteen pounds of Miesfeld’s Grand Champion brats were duly delivered by air freight, along with three dozen City Bakery hard rolls. Husband lovingly grilled the brats over charcoal, staying up until 2:30AM tending the fire. “I always thought I could grill brats in my sleep, and now I know I can!” Later that morning we loaded everything in our van and headed to the bible camp.
We really didn’t need quite so much food, as several people backed out of attending at the last minute, and the thirty people we catered for turned into eighteen very well fed souls. I am happy to say that all the dishes turned out the way we planned, and it was all good.
We loaded up the van with the leftovers on Saturday afternoon, giving away what we could, including seven melons that we couldn’t possibly finish ourselves. It is good we bought a new freezer. We call it the Lutheran freezer. It is full of Grand Champion bratwurst and hard rolls.
Husband is content.
Describe a memorable feast you provided, or consumed.