DoaNK: No be Today
As far back as my preteens, I have heard of not so flattering stories of caterers. I remember decades ago when my great grandma died. That burial ceremony was a carnival. Caterers were brought to the house to come do the cooking. They cooked 24-7 in the backyard till the events were over. I noticed that my aunties took turns to ‘supervise’ the olópòs (term used for the women who came to cook). I also observed that my uncles watched as the cows were slaughtered, smoked, washed and cut.
See, there was no such thing as going to Restaurant Depot and getting chuck tender. Nooo. You go to the dairy farm, pick your cow, transport it to your house and have it slaughtered in your backyard. You hired the cow slaughterers. 4 men will skilfully bring the cow out of the truck, get it to lay down sideways….the rest is history. A mini fire pit was created to smoke the skin (takes out the hair). Using a local hard sponge (koinkoin Hausa) and dish detergent (big up to Omo brand), the tedious task of washing the soot from the cow skin began prior to the cutting.
Why the need for the family bodyguards? Unfortunately, the food products had a tendency to walk. I remember my uncle stumbling on the Kebab guy that was called to use half a cow to make beef kebabs (another event). Uncle decided to go to the trash area for whatever reason. He found the thigh of a cow, enough to feed 100 people. He went ballistic and almost asked the other caterers to undress in case they hid food in private parts. Eish.
Other horrors were pervasive too. The need to have 3 caterers in case 2 disappointed, or one did not show up, or food was not enough. As I grew older I did not take thought of it. I am sure every industry has bad eggs.
A friend had asked me to come vet a caterer for her wedding. This was suppose to be a veteran, well known in the Boston area. She was very late to receive us and she was quite condescending. Hmmm…memories of childhood came flooding….
‘Are they all like this?’….I thought.
We ended up not going with her. It was defining a moment. My supergirl complex kicked in. I wanted to be in the food business to correct some of the misconceptions.
We found someone whose nicety quotient was very high. Her food was very good too.