2020 was a difficult year for everyone. Many people were trapped on opposite sides of the world, unable to go and be with their loved ones due to being stuck in lockdown and quarantine. All celebrations ceased because of the no gathering rules, which led to low morale, even if people knew that it was for the greater good. Now that the worst had passed and the world was slowly beginning to heal, more and more people were allowed to visit each other.
The Cheshire’s Family Party
The Cheshire family, in particular, was extremely happy about the news. They are a big family scattered across the United Kingdom and had not seen each other for the better part of the year. Not only that but also the looked-forward-to and planned big 30th wedding anniversary celebration had to be postponed. Far too many Cheshire family members were either stuck in self-isolation or were too frail to make the trip northwest. There were not a lot of trains either, and travelling became very difficult. With a heavy heart, the family had to postpone the celebration… until now!
The date has been set and excitement grew in the Cheshire family with each passing day. It had been so long since they all saw each other; they were definitely looking forward to gathering up and celebrating after all that time spent apart. All members began making their way northwest a few days before the celebration, with Grandma Jean travelling up from Banbury, and Uncles Roy and Ray staying the weekend after a day of plane-spotting at Manchester Airport. All the cousins that were visiting were going out after the big party in order to continue with their celebrations after the adults had settled down.
Cheshire’s Party Food Ideas
As previously stated, the Cheshire family is big. It has almost more than 50 members, all of them ready to celebrate and, most importantly, eat delicious food. After all, the free food people get from family gatherings is enough of a reason to show up. There was one problem, however: finding the perfect dish for such a big group of people, all of them with different tastes and lifestyles, would be near impossible. And yet, they all wanted to have a good time.
Mr. Cheshire was the first one to bring up the problem. “Perhaps we could go with a hog roast,” he proposed.
“Ah, here we go again,” Mr Cheshire trailed off in defeat.
“Natalia is vegan now, dad. She won’t eat meat,” Angela, the youngest daughter said and rolled her eyes. “In fact, I’m vegan too!” She raised her voice. “And you haven’t even noticed.”
“Ever since that handsome doctor on the BBC showed the intensive farming feature, all my friends stopped eating meat. Including me, duh.” Angela folded her arms across her chest, pouting. “Eating meat is so lame these days.”
“I thought it was just a phase,” the father tried to defend himself, even if the statement earned a groan of disapproval from Angela.
“It’s been 6 months, dad,” she said, “that’s not just a phase. It’s my lifestyle, and I’m not eating hog roast.”
“Of course, dear,” he said. A few moments passed in silence, and despite being tempted to mention the bacon butty wrap he recently saw in Angela’s bag, he decided not to.
“Aren’t hog roasts a minimum of 70 servings?” Melissa, the oldest daughter asked in a matter-of-fact tone. “Take away 10-20 non-carnivores and that’s half a pig wasted for no good reason.”
Both Angela and Melissa audibly groaned at the embarrassing dad joke. There was no escape from those; it seemed, even after all those years. Dads were simply too powerful to be defeated.
“Anyway.” Melissa cleared her throat and continued scrolling through her phone. “The price of a hog roast is £800. Imagine if half of it was wasted – that’s just way too much money going down the drain. It’s just way too big.”
“What’s with the gloomy faces, everyone?” Mrs Cheshire entered the kitchen. She placed her hands on her hips and examined everyone’s features. They were all sad. It was unacceptable!
Vegan Hog Roast
“Dad wants to do a hog roast party but it’s too expensive, it’s, like, almost a thousand quid and a lot of us don’t even eat meat. I doubt vegan pigs exist either,” Angela said with a sigh.
“I see, I see,” Mrs Cheshire said, before raising her finger. “We should treat this as a problem-solving exercise!” She was quick to draw upon her public sector procurement expertise.
“Let’s start with how many mouths we’ll need to feed. Angela?” She looked to the youngest daughter.
“Uh, around 50 I think,” Angela said, raising a brow in scepticism.
“Alright, and what are the dietary requirements of the 50 guests?” Mrs Cheshire continued questioning.
“Well… All kinds, I guess. Half the cousins are vegetarian, if I remember correctly, and I’m vegan,” Angela uncertainly spoke, trying to remember as many details as she could about her fellow family members. “Mum, don’t give me that look. You know I’m vegan.
“Of course, honey,” Mrs Cheshire said. There was a playful glint in her eye as she decided not to voice her thoughts. “So, we have 50 mouths to feed, 50 mouths of various diets.
How much time do we have?” she asked.
“The party begins at…” Angela unlocked her phone in order to look at the time. “It begins at 6 pm. The people with kids will probably leave at around 9 pm. Uncle Steve will most likely be here for a while, you know how he is. We’ll have to carry him out, like always.”
“Great.” Mrs. Cheshire clasped her hands together. “We have 50 mouths of various diets to feed during a 3-hour window. Melissa?” She turned to the eldest.
“Yeah?” Melissa looked up from her phone.
Mobile Party Catering
“I’d like you to search for mobile party catering in Cheshire, please. Tell me the first 3 entries after the ads, okay?” Mrs Cheshire requested.
Melissa gave her a nod and began tapping her fingers against the phone screen. Less than a minute later, she looked up again. “There’s a pizza guy, a fish and chips guy and a burger van.”
“Message all of them, please,” Mrs Cheshire said. “Ask them about the prices and availability. Let’s all meet up at 8:30 pm just before Line of Duty and see what we’re working with.”
“Okay,” Melissa sighed and continued typing.
Time passed quickly, and as the summer sun began to set, the family gathered together. It was still warm outside.
“What do you have for us, Melissa? What did they say?” Mrs Cheshire asked.
“Well, the fish and chips guy is available. It’s above budget but it is fish and chips, so it’s worth it.” Melissa shrugged. “I personally like it.”
“Awesome! There’ll be meat for the meat-eaters and chips for the rest of us,” Angela happily exclaimed.
“But wait, how are we going to get a van in here? It looks pretty big,” Melissa stated. She was always the practical one; that had not changed throughout the years.
“Hm… They could park on the road but then everyone would have to constantly move back and forth in order to get their food. That’s a bit inconvenient, especially for the older family members,” Mrs Cheshire said. “The small children will be difficult to manage as well. I still remember all those government infomercials during the 70s.”
Melissa and Angela looked at each other bemused, even though they had no idea what their mother was talking about. They just knew she had admitted to being old.
“What about the burger van?” Angela asked. “Do they have any vegetarian and vegan options?”
Melissa nodded. “Yep, they do but they’re not available. They have a pitch at Nantwich lake and won’t be able to get here on time.”
Angela’s shoulders slouched in defeat.
“That’s a shame,” Mrs. Cheshire sighed.
Pizza Hire in Cheshire
“We’ve still got the pizza thing,” Melissa said with a smile. “They’ve got a stand that they set up in the back garden. There’s an oven and everything. It looks pretty professional to me.”
“Pizza!” Angela exclaimed.
“What’s the menu like?” Mrs. Cheshire was quick to ask.
“Uh…” Melissa brought out her phone again and scrolled through the site. “All the favourites – ham and mushroom, pepperoni, Margherita…”
“Do they have vegan options, though?” Angela butted in.
“They’ve got some vegan options. They’re… right here.” Melissa leaned in so that she could read better. “Apparently they’ve got a vegetarian topping that doesn’t have any cheese and, of course, there’s a spicy meat feast for Uncle Steve.” She looked at her father. “You don’t have to worry about that.”
“How is the budget?” Mr. Cheshire asked. After all, he would be the one paying for everything.
“It’s actually way cheaper than we planned,” Melissa said.
“So, that’s it, then,” Mrs. Cheshire said with a smile. “A pizza stand set up in the back garden where everyone can help themselves any time they want!”
And thus, the curse of the hog roast was broken.