Monday, June 27, 2011

Cooking For Kylie: Volume 2

[Alternate header: Why I'm Not Cut Out For Catering]

Last week was a blur of shopping, prepping, chopping, washing, drying, stirring, baking, washing, chopping, packaging, selling, baking, tasting, shopping, prepping, washing... and repeat! Monday's menu involved macaroni & cheese, mildly-curried butternut soup, bran muffins and chocolate brownies. Tuesday night I shopped and prepped, preparing spaghetti and meatballs, minestrone soup, bran & cappuccino muffins and brownies. This was by far the toughest night with every pot we own bubbling on the stove, the meatballs in the oven, the brownies and muffins lined up to be baked and the sink piled to the rafters.

Thursday was a colleague's birthday and I'd agreed to make brownies, chocolate cake and a baked lemon cheesecake. Now my colleagues are like family, so I wasn't sure what to charge and we agreed upon the round figure of R150 – R50 an item. Turns out I severely undercharged – just three ingredients for the cheesecake cost R55. So we settled on vanilla cupcakes. I didn't end up making money, but the birthday was a success and I have two more orders for birthday goodies for office mates. That evening, I made chicken curry and bacon and lentil soup for the following day. We had guests for dinner, and I made chicken pie and enjoyed the temporary respite from "the project".

Friday came & went, and I handed out the last of my meals and counted out my earnings. I most certainly didn't make millions, or recoup enough to cover my time, but I covered costs and made enough for a Kylie ticket. The brownies proved supremely popular and were the easiest to make and manufacture, so I'm going to keep those up. I learnt the cost of my time; became truly aware of the expense of ingredients and my unwavering decision not to cut corners with poor produce; basked in the pleasure of having a project outside of work and the joy I get from cooking; tested my boyfriend's patience (and washing up skills); and let go of a great project not because it failed, but because of the reality of its execution. Along the way, I got some feedback on a few of my recipes. I'll be sharing a few of the most successful ones (like the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes!).

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