Cookin’ on the Square

Yesterday, the City of Cookeville once again had a successful Cookin’ on the Square fundraiser for Putnam County Habitat for Humanity.  While I started chopping on Thursday evening about 6 o’clock to prepare 10 gallons of Jaida’s Jambalaya, he ran out to my mother’s to pick up her gumbo that she had already prepared for the event.  I had most of the onions, bell peppers, celery, and Andouille sausage chopped up and realized that I needed to double my ingredients to make another pot.  We then went to the storage room to pick up the turkey fryers and large pots and went to the grocery store again and bought 8 more onions, 8 more bell peppers, 4 more bundles of celery and more Andouille sausage.  While Mike prepared the pots and set up the turkey fryers, I started chopping the second batch of veggies and sausage.

At midnight, we started both pots with all the veggies, sausage, beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and various spices.  We then set the clock for 3:00, 5:00, and 7:30 am and went to bed at 1:00 am.  Each time the alarm went off, we got up to check the fires and the jambalaya.  It was smelling great and it was right on schedule.  Once we were up at 7:30 am, we began preparing for the day.  We gathered our hot sauces, hot pads, and lawn chairs.  We dropped the shrimp into one pot of jambalaya and got ready to head out to the square in Cookeville.

When we got there, you could just sense the excitement in the air.  Our church staff already had the tent up and the tables, tablecloths, and chafing dishes all set up.  The music was already playing in the background and everyone was setting up their booths too.  I love the way so many businesses get involved in this event.

We love the whole experience of preparing this meal for this annual event.  We enjoy the idea of contributing to a worthy cause, and it is something that my husband and I have shared over the past several years.  We were all set up ready to go then it was time to start visiting with all the passersby.

We saw so many people that we have known over the years here in Cookeville.  We have not seen some since our boys played ball, and others that we don’t usually run into around town.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship surrounded by a community of givers who sees Habitat for Humanity as a worthy cause of providing affordable housing for families who may otherwise not afford a nice home.