Good food and memories is pretty much what Have Pig Will Travel is all about. I never intended for it to be that way, but that’s the way it turned out. It really doesn’t matter whether it is a yearly customer or a one-time customer, either way the comments are the same. Many times I have met either a customer or guest from a party I catered over ten years ago and they’ll break into a story about “how memorable that day was.” They will talk about the festivities and at some point they will mention something about the roasted pig or ribs or something… They may talk about “the crispy skin” or the smell of the pig cooking that day and they get more excited as they talk about it.
I have had customers I cooked for years ago call me and say “thank god you’re still in business, because we’re planning our anniversary party this year and we want the same exact food we had at the wedding.” My reply “really?” And then they will go on to tell me how much people have talked about “the food” that was at our wedding, “you really were a big hit.”
Of course comments and stories like this touch my heart because in looking back on the road I have come down with this business I see a little bit different picture than I did the day I was cooking and working at their parties. Sure I know it is a wedding or mile stone birthday, but at the time I’m more consumed and concerned with things like meeting the serving time, the weather or stressed out because I had mechanical problems getting to the job and I’m worried about getting my rig back home. All the while I’m in the middle of “happy, happy, joy, joy” people having a party. But now in hindsight I see it differently. I see life long memories being created before my very eyes.
I have yearly customers and I have others who only call me when they’re having a special event. I had a customer who only called on me when each of his three children was graduating college. I have had people call me when the moved into a new house and years later when they moved away from that house. I used to have a yearly customer who rented a bed & breakfast every year for 25 family members. I have companies that call me every year for their annual picnic and they never get bored. In fact it is a huge coming together for all the employees and it helps boost company moral.
Here’s the best part… I don’t do anything special; I just do what I always do. We cook good fresh food and serve it on time. We don’t put on a special show, although for many it is something different. But seriously we just cook good ole down home food, we are not the fanciest, we just do what we do.
I have cooked for every kind of party I can think of and through taking pictures and video I remember a lot of them. Some of the most touching are;
“Cancer Free” party. A man threw a surprise party for his wife who was one year cancer free.
I catered an event in New York that I though was a normal party, but there were two fire helmets on the table with two pictures of an uncle & nephew who were lost on 9/11.
I catered a party for a small group of friends who made it out of the towers on 9/11.
I catered a mortgage burning party for two average working people.
Many welcome home parties for soldiers.
I catered a party for a young man who was having a party for his father to enjoy all his family and friends one last time because he was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s.
I have catered a “Welcome to America” party for a family who brought members from South Africa.
These are just a few of the over one thousand events we have cooked at and were part of their wonderful memories.
One party I know I will not do any more and I will sadly miss, is the job I have done at the Elmwood Park VFW. They would bring the old vets out from the VA home and Commander Willie would let the party take place at his post. Commander Willie past away a few months back and the party is cancelled. Sure will miss seeing all those old dudes come out and listen to the old tunes and take they’re trip down memory lane as they have some good food and enjoy being with friends.
Good food & Memories.