As we walked into the tiny glass vestibule at the catering place, we were not alone. There was an angry bee attacking anyone within range (which was all of us).
Now, I remember my first (and only) bee sting. (I’m knocking on wood here.) I was about five years old, wearing a blue and white gingham dress, standing in the driveway. A bee flew up said dress, and stung me on the tummy. I burst into surprised, hurt tears. I have almost no memories of my early childhood, but I remember the bee sting incident. Yowch.
In the tiny glass vestibule, however, I would have gladly thrown myself into the bee’s path (if there was a way to throw yourself into the exceedingly random and zippy path of a bee) to protect my friends. The Mister and Super Tall Girl are allergic to bees. I think Sassy Minister is too. The Mister has one of those special shots to counteract the allergic reaction. In a drawer. At home. Good thinkin’, Mister. And Super Tall Girl once drank a bee out of a coke can, and her lip swelled up so much from the sting that she couldn’t get her sweater over her face before going to the hospital. Every time I think of this, I am reminded of people who intentionally stretch out their lips with plugs and even film canisters, because it’s beautiful in their culture. I think this beauty trend has spread to some of the barristas at Starbucks. By the way, what's the masculine form of "barrista"? Barrister? Isn't that an attorney in London? Now I have a new mental image: a barrister in a wig making lattes.
"Non-fat, no foam, half-caf latte? Got it!" But I digress.
We tried to shoo the bee out into the open air, but he kept dive-bombing us. We tried to escape out of the vestibule and into the catering building proper, but the bee blocked our path.
So we smushed the bee. And I feel bad about it. But there it is. Moving on.
We went into the room to begin our tasting, and the first thing I noticed was the tablecloths. We asked for white tablecloths because: (1) they’re the least expensive, and (2) we love how they look. But one inexpensive white tablecloth over a table looks like a sheer slip that doesn’t adequately cover one’s dignity, as my grandmother used to call it. We added another layer of tablecloth, and it looked great. And it was still reasonably priced. On to the tasting.
First course: tea sandwiches! We tried four kinds.
Avocado and bacon = salty yumminess.
Cucumber and watercress = deeeelightful.
Chicken salad = quite nice.
The fourth kind was salmon mousse. Super Tall Girl is a pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats seafood), so she tried this one first. I said, “How is it?!” And she said, “I’d rather not say.” Uh-oh. I took a big bite, and discovered that the catering folks had obviously substituted pink globby glue for the alleged salmon mousse. Ick. Um, no thank you. The pink globby sandwiches are pictured on the right, below.
We also tried mini beef wellingtons, my all time favorite appetizer. They rocked. The Mister ate Super Tall Girl’s portion.
On to the main course.
We wanted to have a vegetarian option, and we nominated Super Tall Girl to pick it. Whatever she said was what we were going to serve. She selected the marinated, grilled portabello mushroom over the black bean wellington. Yummy!
The rest of us decided between two chicken dishes: chicken with bourbon sauce and sautéed apples, and chicken with a mushroom dijon cream sauce. It was a no brainer. The Dijon cream sauce was so good, the catering lady agreed to put extra sauce on the Mister’s plate at the reception.
Then we began discussing the sides. Green beans amandine or asparagus? The Mister and Super Tall girl liked the asparagus. Sassy Minister and I liked the green beans. We were at an impasse. So Sassy Minister pulled rank on us all: “Jesus prefers the green beans.” Um, green beans it is. Who’s going to argue with Jesus?
Same problem with the roasted potatoes and the Vermont white cheddar mashed potatoes. The Mister and Sassy Minister liked the mashed, and since Jesus agreed with them, that’s what we picked. I didn’t realize that Jesus had such well-defined tastes. Or that going to seminary makes one especially attuned to them. Thank goodness Sassy Minister was there to lead us. And that we didn’t pick devil’s food cake for dessert. (Wink.)
We also added carrot soufflé, which tastes like a cross between a delicious veggie and a dessert. Everyone loved that.
By the time we made all these choices, we were laughing so hard that we disturbed the people in the next room, who were having a very serious food tasting, apparently. The catering lady said that we were the most fun people she’d ever had for an appointment, and that we were part of the “party set.” She thinks we should have glowsticks at the reception. Like a rave or something. Whaaa?! We want people to dance, not OD on techno music and ecstasy, right? Besides, if we had glow sticks, Mama would have a heart attack. ‘Nuff said.
Then we left the catering place (via the same dangerous glass vestibule through which we entered) and went to have beer. The whole day was one of the most fun parts of planning the wedding so far. Surrounded by friends, munching on food, and laughing our . . . ahem . . . dignities off.