Catering Claire’s big move (and a pasta salad recipe)

Pasta Salad

One of the many, many things I love about my son is that he doesn’t do anything halfway. His first year out of college has been a learning experience. The corner office still eludes him. But he was the best damn office supply salesman at Office Depot, he was the star check-out clerk at Cool Springs Wine and Liquor and he has been the most enthusiastic assistant manager at Claire’s while he gets ready to leave for the Russian immersion program at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Which is why he came home one day a few weeks ago to suggest that he and I cater Claire’s big move at the Cool Springs mall from a small space to a bigger one almost next door to the much-anticipated but lost-on-me-why American Girl store that was about to open.

Moving an entire store almost entirely filled with microscopic jewelry meant for preteens is no easy job. Especially because you can’t do it while the mall is open. So Claire’s brought in a bevy of help from other stores in the area and the entire staff worked back-breaking hours to hustle the jeweled sunflower earrings, Frozen paraphernalia and other cubic zirconia wonders a pretty hefty distance from the old store to the new one.

It all went pretty smoothly. There were mishaps…

Jill bravely pastes on a smile as she ponders picking up thousands of miniscule earrings

Jill pastes a smile on her face while pondering picking up 1,000 miniscule earrings

But Noah brought them treats every day and the gesture did not go unnoticed.

Emily, Lucy and Christina nibbling on breakfast squares

Emily, Lucy and Christina nibble on sausage Cheddar breakfast squares

Claires 2

Dan digs into homemade blackberry cobbler

And it fed my soul. My kitchen was the place all of Noah’s friends gathered in high school because I loved feeding them. I missed that when Noah went to college, but during the summers I could still hope for a full house. And now he’s about to leave for Middlebury and my compulsion to produce mass quantities of food will have to be quelled once again.

Except one of his buddies at Claire’s joked that she wants to move in with me. I’m considering it.


Pasta Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 8-ounce package bow tie pasta
  • ½ cup chopped yellow pepper
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • ⅓ cup sliced green olives
  • ⅓ cup diced sun-dried tomato
  • ⅓ cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
  • ⅓ cup diced Italian dried salami
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  1. Make the vinaigrette by combining the sherry vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until an emulsion forms. Reserve.
  2. Boil the bow-tie pasta in 2 quarts of water for about eight minutes or until al dente. Drain and add the vinaigrette while the pasta is warm. Let the pasta cool for about five minutes in the vinaigrette so the pasta soaks up the dressing.
  3. Add the yellow and red peppers, olives, cheese, salami, parsley and oregano. Mix thoroughly and chill an hour before serving.

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