Adventures in amateur catering, starring pimiento cheese and the best oatmeal cookie

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My parents both turn 60 this month and to celebrate they decided to throw a big party and renew their wedding vows.

I offered to help with the food because I’m good at helping with food, but I’m not good at helping with other wedding-ish event things like decorating and music and speeches about feelings.

The guest list was around 150, so we needed some professional assistance. I’m not that good at helping with food. We went for a southern/comfort food-type menu. The pulled pork sliders and mac and cheese were catered, and I prepped the cold dishes with my dad and my brother who cooks for a living and let me use his fancy knives.

We made about 15 pounds of “Tennessee-style” coleslaw, which is dressed with a combination of mayonnaise, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar and celery seeds. I became obsessed with mustard coleslaw after my trip to Memphis last summer. It’s the perfect combination of tangy and creamy, and I recommend heaping it on top of a pulled pork sandwich.

We also made a bunch of pimiento cheese - 1 gallon of mayonnaise and 10 pounds of sharp cheddar’s worth. I recommend eating that on just about anything. There was a buttermilk herb dip for crudité, and giant bowls of salad with a simple vinaigrette.

For the cookie bar, I made oatmeal lace cookies, which I tried for the first time at my friend Andrea’s epic holiday cookie party last month and immediately forsook all other cookies. There is only THIS COOKIE. I made a big batch of them to take to various family Christmas gatherings and accidentally (on purpose) forgot them at home in the freezer. I ate them all by New Year’s. I might try some different flavorings, like this fennel and poppy seed version from 101 Cookbooks. But then again I might not, because why mess with perfection?

Want some recipes? Here you go!

Tennessee-Style Coleslaw (Noble Pig)

Pimento Cheese (Zingerman’s)

Buttermilk Herb Dip (Fine Cooking)

Oatmeal Lace Cookies (Forkable)

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Ves & Mar, 1976