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Coming Soon...
Wednesday, Dec 19
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
05:30 PM The Calaveras County Women's Network Christmas Meeting is December 19th!
Thursday, Dec 20
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
Friday, Dec 21
05:30 PM Friday Night Music at Alchemy
Saturday, Dec 22
10:00 AM Old Timers Museum Walking Tours Are Every Saturday at 10am.
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
11:00 AM Town Tours of Columbia State Historic Park
07:00 PM Big Holiday Laughs: Inspecting Carol’ at Murphys Creek Theatre
Sunday, Dec 23
11:00 AM Sunday Funday at Ironstone Vineyards
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
11:00 AM Town Tours of Columbia State Historic Park
Monday, Dec 24
All Day Let CAMPS Do The Dirty Dishes This Christmas Eve!
Wednesday, Dec 26
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
Thursday, Dec 27
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
Friday, Dec 28
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
05:30 PM Friday Night Music at Alchemy
Saturday, Dec 29
10:00 AM Old Timers Museum Walking Tours Are Every Saturday at 10am.
Sunday, Dec 30
11:00 AM Sunday Funday at Ironstone Vineyards
11:00 AM Guided Tours of Ironstone Vineyards
11:00 AM Town Tours of Columbia State Historic Park

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Remember Me

The Lunch Lady

Getting to Know Me

I come from a food family. In my family, recipes are our heirlooms. My grandmother threw herself into food and cooking after the death of my grandfather when I was very young. I spent hours with her in the kitchen while she baked bread, decorated cakes for family and friends, whipped up chilled soups and perfected countless dessert recipes. I admired her skills very much and when I turned seven, she took me to Maurice et Charles in San Francisco owned by her dear friend Maurice Amzallag. I ordered the wild boar with juniper berries and there was no turning back!

Growing up, we lived on a small family farm and raised our own livestock, eggs and poultry, grew our own fruits and vegetables, and my Mom did lots of cooking, baking, preserving, and canning. She made her own fruit leather, granola, breads, preserves, cured meats, and I was often under foot in the kitchen helping out. We had a connection to most of what we ate. One neighbor had an apiary and gave us 5 gallon buckets full of golden clover honey and orange blossom honey, one neighbor had a fig tree, one a plum, walnut orchards, almond orchards, we had access to the best that the good earth had to offer. At each harvest, it was a scramble to find new ways to prepare and preserve the abundance to last the entire year. I remember giant bowls of cherries looking like glistening garnets on our kitchen table, warm from the morning sun, skins tight with sugary juice. We endlessly shelled almonds and walnuts, our fingers rough from the work. Applesauce. Our crank peeler was priceless because of the sheer volume of apples we processed in our small kitchen each fall, but we knew there would be applesauce cakes, and warm applesauce on oatmeal with fresh cream for breakfast in winter. There was one year when we all thought if we even saw another zucchini, we would pass out. Collecting eggs was my morning ritual. I gently reached in under the sleeping chickens and removed their beautiful, creamy brown, white, and green eggs, warm from their bodies, and sometimes still with a soft shell. Breakfast. During the day, the chickens would forage through the garden, finding bugs, our natural pesticides. The great horned tomato worms were their prize, and they would all rush greedily to the feast when one was found. Days on the farm were long, at times arduous, but always rewarding.

As a teenager, I began cooking for my family on my own, and it felt natural to be providing my loved ones with nourishment. It was rewarding work. At fifteen, I was given the opportunity to travel to France where I sampled pastries, chocolates, bread still warm from the boulangerie, a real croissant, fresh market foods, and I stumbled upon authentic Moroccan food. I was changed forever. When I sought a part time job back home, it was no surprise that I looked in the culinary field nourishing others. I found peace in the ritual of preparation, and in the fast pace of the professional kitchen. I loved the way I could access people through food, reliving with them their food memories, and introducing them to new ones. I discovered the definite connection between the essence of a person and how they nourish and sustain themselves. I found camaraderie in my fellow food workers, and I knew I had found my place in the world.

Working in the culinary industry took me to many interesting places, mainly throughout California, learning everywhere I went. When I worked side by side with a Japanese man, I learned about New Year's mochi and the Japanese theories of balancing a plate. The many and dear Mexican cooks enriched my knowledge of my own heritage and gave a history to my own celebration foods. A waiter from Spain taught me how to use almonds in savory dishes and schooled me on Spanish cheeses. Indian food brought me to an apartment in El Cerrito drenched in the aroma of spices, wearing a sari, and patting out fresh, warm roti with my hands. I learned people really wanted to talk about their childhood dishes, their cultural staples, what sustained them through times of sorrow and celebration. It was a part of their identity. I immersed myself in food culture taking notes, recording recipes and sketching dishes everywhere I went. I learned about cultural foods, vegetarian foods, macrobiotics, raw foods, everyone had some specialty to impart, and I ate it all up! The bulk of my working experience was in the San Francisco Bay Area where I discovered catering. I worked for both Paula LeDuc and Savoy Catering of Emeryville and Oakland respectively, eventually leaving Paula LeDuc to become the Executive Chef of Savoy Catering. I adored making people's fantasies come true for one event through flavor, aroma and texture. I loved making people's food memories with them, but on a grander scale than I could achieve in a restaurant. Celebration food, mourning food, nourishment as reward, as surprise, as enticement or invitation, it all thrilled me.
Once my family was well begun, I started preparing high-end boxed lunches for local businesses and private clients, and Lunch Lady Catering was born. I have since grown to full service events, my favorite medium. So for me, things have come full circle. I live in an area I love, making the food I love for friends, and family. I use my childhood memories of food fresh from the ground, vine, or tree to nourish my clients with fresh, wholesome ingredients, and care. Each dish contains elements extracted from an experience in my life. It continues to be a joyous one! Thank you for being a part of it, and letting me be a small part of yours!

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