Little by little, we’re getting our sea legs again. While it’s been no financial picnic to follow fourteen months of takeout-only with another two months of Tucson Summer Business, I can’t fathom what would have happened had we gone back to what we were doing a year and a half ago from what we were doing three months ago. We emerged from our shut-down logy and awkward; where we used to move adroitly past one another in the servers’ station, we found ourselves all knees and elbows, stilted and ungainly, bumping into each other like Laurel and Hardy. I’d wake up remembering the glass of wine I had told someone I’d bring and promptly forgot.
I can’t say I’m delighted that my garage is stuffed with Feast’s unused tables and chairs, but I can say that I don’t care to relive what we went through when we first moved down the street from our original location. Like now, we had to hire a number of new people who hadn’t worked together before, and like now, the logistical systems we’d been using throughout recent memory had to be abolished from the table with a dramatic sweep.
But restarting in the summer has afforded us the opportunity to disappoint our guests at the normal rate- only occasionally, and often disappointing those who arrived with the intention of being disappointed. It beats the tar out of how many people we disappointed when we doubled in size. We can keep up with the things we started during the pandemic-the breads and baked goods, the pickups from our more vulnerable guests, and the donation runs, though we managed to screw that one up too, and what should have been one huge delivery on Tuesday ended up being split into two smaller ones brought to the Primavera Men’s Shelter on successive days.
Why? During the pandemic, the weekly meetings we had went out the window, and they simply hadn’t returned to our calendar. There was no need for a meeting when we were eking out a handful of carryout orders, catering no parties, never needing to order linens, or coffee, or replenish our stores. And when we reopened, we were suddenly overwhelmed, still trying to package meals in cryovac, bake our breads and cookies, and run around town handing out meals, all while changing the menu each month, creating special events like Bastille Day and Ferragosto (yes, there’s a Ferragosto menu coming, I promise.) Who had time for a meeting?
But we’ve hired a few people, and a couple of prep cooks and dishwashers seem to have stayed past that precarious period where it’s as likely that they’ll walk out in the middle of a shift as it is that they’ll stick around to see what Family Meal is going to be, and over half the waiters, hosts and bussers we’ve brought in are still with us. I almost fear putting it in writing.
Meanwhile, there’s bread to be had today, and other baked goods, and all of this as well:
Come Saturday, there’ll be yet another wine tasting, which looks like this:
And next Tuesday, there’ll be a new menu, news about where our next food donation run is headed (it seems that the people at the various non-profits we support are all still getting their sea legs back as well,) and a menu of treats for Ferragosto. Meanwhile, for those unfamiliar, I leave you with this little explanation of how the Feast of the Assumption was turned into the day that everyone in Italy comes spilling out of the cities and mountains and hills to come to rest at the shore, soaking up sun, listening to pop music, eating and drinking like vacationing up a storm:
In two weeks and change, we’ll be offering up a menu of traditional Italian fare, and waiving the corkage on every wine from Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia, whether we have a beach to relax on or not. See you soon.
Doug and everyone else at Feast