I adapted my recipe from my mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe. Actually, she said get got it from a friend when she worked at a bank in St. Paul.
Growing up, my mom would make this recipe maybe once a year because it was time consuming. I’ve streamlined the process for my lasagna. Not having to make meatballs shaves some serious time.
For the past three years, I’ve been selling these lasagnas to fund our mission trips to Honduras. People are now starting to come to my door for one. I always have these delights in my freezer for customers. After all these years, I’m still my biggest customer. I eat this lasagna with great regularity.
The lasagnas inspired us to start a small catering business. We haven’t built a site yet, but are on Facebook. The hope is to generate enough money year round to help fund my trips with Mercy Chefs.
(I have to thank the staff at The Daily Post for triggering Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’ in my brain. This will confound me for a couple of days just like when ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ by Cher was unleashed. Well played, Daily Post.)
My favorite way to express myself is through cooking. Who doesn’t like cooking? Apparently a lot of people. My mom was a good cook. I say was as if she is no longer among the living. She is a good cook. I usually get to enjoy her food around Thanksgiving.
Around June, she will ask me what I want to eat. Since we stay three days, there is room for more than turkey. Chicken and dumplings usually hit the list. So do pork chops, egg salad, seafood dip, and whatever else I can get her to make. Still no salmon patties. I may have to resort to threats.
The short order cooking adventure is always surprising as my mom hates cooking. She despises it. As long as I remember she has always hated cooking. I never watched her cook. I never learned her techniques. This skill is mostly self-taught.
I believe I mentioned couch surfing for a couple of years. My friend who lent me his couch was also kind enough to let me watch him cook. I watched. And watched. When I got tired of watching, I watched some more. That’s all I ever did there. I remember I was allowed to stir gravy a couple of times. Woohoo! Actually, I was really jazzed. It took me years to get the gravy just right. It’s simple to make, but it is more art than flour and oil.
Sixteen years later, my fanaticism has only grown stronger. Yesterday, my wife told me that she lost the three pounds that she gained from my recent cake spree. She likes my food. I have friends who take phenomenal pictures who will shoot my food in exchange for a meal. This would be a bad trade if I made them a pan of Hamburger Helper.
The past two years I have spent volunteering with Mercy Chefs, and now I have finally decided to try my hand at catering. Hence, the name Cater It Forward. We have a long way to go on, well, everything. There is a lot more to this business stuff than slinging hash.
Making an income is secondary. The original plan was, and still is, to cater to raise money so I can afford to deploy with Mercy Chefs. The organization is 100% volunteer. This business can help earn gas money, hotel accommodations, airplane tickets, whatever I need so I can serve others through Mercy Chefs.
This organization has been to Africa. I went to with Mercy Chefs. My good chef friend was in the Philippines recently to provide aid.
Am I starting to sound like a shill? Sorry about that. With all of this cooking, I think of that 80’s drug PSA. Or was it the nineties.
“I do coke. So I can work longer. So I can earn more. So I can do more coke.” Cue the sad trombone: Wah wah wah waaaah. The infinite cocaine loop.
I cook. So I can serve others. So I can do more coke cook. It’s not perfect, but I hope I was able to illustrate my point.
(Featured image was a result of bartering food. My good friend Josh shot the image).