By Iuliana Petre
Killeen Daily Herald
Washington caterers are offering a word of advice for anyone attending the inaugural balls scattered throughout the nation's capital on the night President-elect Barack Obama takes office – eat before you come.
The night of the inauguration is no night for haute cuisine and Cinderella-style glamour, but more like long lines and finger food.
"It's just cash bars and cheese cubes. The food is not glamorous at all. It's all about dancing and celebrating," says Susan Lacz, CEO at Ridgewells Caterers in Bethesda, Md., which has been catering the balls since 1961.
Several of Washington's large catering companies have been handling balls for decades.
"It's orchestrated chaos," says Karen Feketis, director of catering at the Washington Hilton Hotel, which has hosted inaugural balls for every election since Nixon.
Food at the balls is traditionally American with slight nods to the incoming president's tastes.
"Bush was a big meat-and-potatoes guy. With Obama, maybe it would have a Chicago or Hawaiian feel to it," Lacz said, adding "We know he loves pumpkin pie and chili."
There are only two things one can count on with every official inaugural ball taking place on the night of Jan. 20, Feketis said. There will be a cash bar and food offerings will be minimal. "It's not a great sit-down dinner," Feketis said.
And locally, it's going to be much of the same, said Arthur Resa, the Democratic party chair for Bell County.
"We're going to serve shrimp, cheese and fruit," Resa said adding that there will be a cash bar during the Bell County Democratic Party's Celebrate the Inauguration at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton.
"We've charged just a little extra to make sure we have better foods to recognize and thank our volunteers, and to celebrate and make sure that people are having a good time," Resa said.
Killeen caterer Bobby Grant, who is preparing and catering the event for Bell County Democrats, said he's going to serve sausage balls, hot wings, homemade tamales, small sandwiches, chips, fruit, veggie and cheese trays and punch.
Grant's plan for the sausage balls, instead of preparing them from scratch, is to buy the prepared sausage balls and flavor them using soy sauce, a bullion cube and then bake them with cornstarch and pineapple "to give them body."
The hot wings will be cooked in the oven with hot sauce, kept warm and served hot, Grant said, adding that the punch will be a mix of white grape juice and ginger ale.
Grant will also boil shrimp served with red dipping sauce made of ketchup, horseradish and fresh lemon juice, ham roll-ups with cream cheese, garnished with an olive or delicate pickle, and small chicken salad sandwiches on wheat bread.
"I'm not a big operator, I'm a small operator and do most of it myself," Grant said of his one-man catering company. "I do this to have something to do. It keeps me busy."
Grant is expecting to serve about 200 people at the Expo Center.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Contact Iuliana Petre at email@example.com or (254) 501-7469.
Bell County Democratic Party
The Bell County Democratic Party will host a Celebrate the Inauguration of Barack Obama. The celebration will be from 6 to 11 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Bell County Expo in Belton.
Social hour is from 6 to 7 p.m. with refreshments provided and a pay-as-you-go bar available.
A short program will start at 7 p.m. with a viewing of a tape delay of the inauguration ceremony.
Music and dancing will follow the program. Dress will be semiformal.
Some tickets are available at $25 per person. Tickets are available from Democratic precinct chairs or by calling 698-1880.
The deadline to purchase tickets is Friday.
Web site: democratsbellctytx.com.
More information: Arthur Resa at 541-7456.
CTC Center for African-American Studies and Research
The deadline to purchase tickets for the center's inaugural ball is Friday.
The event is black-tie optional and will be held Jan. 20 in the ballroom of the Shilo Inn in Killeen beginning at 6 p.m.
The event will feature dinner, dancing and President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration address.
Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at the following locations: the Greater Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove Chambers of Commerce; the Central Texas College Foundation office; Shilo Inn and Balfour's Men's Wear.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the CAASR scholarship program and lecture funds.
For more information about the inaugural ball or CAASR, call 526-1662.
Culture of Change
Culture of Change presents an inaugural ball at the Fort Hood Officers Club on Jan. 20.
The ball is a celebration of the inauguration of Barack Obama.
The group is offering a fun-filled evening with a program, dinner and dancing.
Black tie is optional and tickets are $45 per person or $85 a couple.
A scholarship will be awarded to an area high school graduating senior.
For tickets or more information, call Dr. Betty Barr at 698-1945, Nancy Mitchell at 628-9152, Edmond Jones at 699-7236, Capt. Lyles at 238-1394 or Doris Ellis at 371-3086.
– From staff reports
EASY PUMPKIN PIE
1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine ingredients in large bowl, pour into shell, bake 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35-40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
EASY TASTY CHILI
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion (diced)
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 pkg. chili mix (any kind)
water as directed on chili mix
1 can baked beans (any kind)
shredded cheddar or mexican cheese
Brown ground beef with diced onion until done. Drain off excess grease and rinse with hot water if needed.
Chop Rotel tomatoes in the blender (optional). Add tomatoes, chili mix, and water to the beef and cook down for about 5 minutes or so. Add beans and continue to cook until beans are warm.
Individually sprinkle with cheese and serve with crackers or cornbread.
Serves: about 4-6 Chili
EASY SAUSAGE BALLS
These easy sausage balls are ideal for a tasty treat or a special party.
3 c. biscuit mix
1 lb. hot pork sausage, room temp.
10 oz. pkg. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
Crumble sausage and mix with cheese. Add biscuit mix, one cup at a time. Form into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350-375 degree oven until light brown (13-15 minutes). Cooking time takes longer if balls are frozen. Serve warm.
Makes about 7 dozen.
- Recipes from cooks.com