Category Archives: Newletter

Chill Out This Father’s Day!

I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina.  On any given day from the first of May through the end of October Columbia is the Devil’s Armpit – but with record high’s the past few years and 100+ degrees in MAY, my father is spending a lot of time indoors.  Nothing says “Father’s Day” like a big fat juicy steak for daddy – but this year I”m thinking maybe we could chill out with some variations on our traditional meat and potatoes.  How about some Chilled Zucchini Cilantro Soup with Shrimp Garnish, a Black ‘n Bleu Steak Salad and a Loaded Baked Potato Salad to fill you up, and a cooling piece of Strawberry-Pistachio Trifle to end things?  Even if it IS 100 degrees this menu is sure to fill your heart and soul and cool you off!

A Note From Chef Lori

Our kitchen will be closed for Father’s Day as I will be actually VISITING my daddy in the Devil’s Armpit before I head to Atlanta for a training session taping – also called Hell’s Kitchen – LITERALLY!!!  PS…Ain’t this Loaded Baked Potato Salad PURTY?!?

Click here to visit our website!  Lots of different Summer Salads to choose from!

Happy Mother’s Day! Memories of Mom and Food

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my maternal peeps – whether your charge has a tail, or fur, or is destined to become President – I’ll just bet memories of YOU contain a bunch of food.  On this, the 2nd mother’s day for me without my mom, I’d like to remember mom’s WEIRD relationship with food, which she mostly didn’t even like, except, well, potato sticks.  Remember potato sticks that came (come) in a can?  They can still be found in strange corners of strange stores…this was more often than not mom’s lunch – at 11:30 sharp, she sat at the kitchen table with her Tab and the can of sticks.  Not surprising, since she ate dirt as a child!  Sticks and dirt – no wonder she didn’t like to eat!  If you know where to source Potato Sticks let me know – I love them too (in moderation, of course!).

Mom thought some things just tasted better if you stole them. Let me be clear: my mother did NOT consider it stealing.  She was “performing a service” – the pears were obviously going to rot and the pecans were going to get stolen by the squirrels.   My poor brother and sister (somehow I escaped this embarrassment) were hauled each summer and fall to farms that ran alongside the road with their pecan and pear trees hanging heavy, and spent the day picking, plucking, hiding and dodging.  These pears, along with all of the other vegetables that were grown in our garden, were put up for use all winter long (which in SC lasts less than 4 months – the rest of the year the garden yielded).  I never really cared for pear sauce, but it adorned the oatmeal I truly hated many mornings before school. Yum.  Not.  Never did I taste a canned vegetable until I went away to college.  Even our okra (yuck) was frozen.  To this day one can attend Irmo SC’s Annual Okra Strut.

More momentous for me was The Chitlin Strut – held annually (still) in Salley SC.  Man, we South Carolinians know how to party.  Salley has (had?) fabulous clothing outlets so the 1 hour drive was filled with anticipation for me as a teenager.  The chitlins did not fill me at all, ever.

Speaking of offal, my mother had a (let’s put this kindly) mischievous streak.   Once when in Italy, we were with a small group of 7 and dinner was cafeteria style.  Items were labeled and one tray, labeled “Trippa” looked enticing to American eyes as it was laced with a fabulous marinara and provolone.  Our companion was on mother’s last nerve so she elbowed me and winked, while (let’s call her Debra) oohed and aahed over the “Trippa” and asked mom what it was.  Mother said “Tripe!  It’s beef! It’s delicious!  Try some!”  So Debra did.  I didn’t know what the joke was as I had yet to be introduced to offal of any kind other than the cow’s liver that my grandfather loved, my grandmother served, and made something else for me and herself.    Turns out Debra thoroughly enjoyed the tripe until she was finished and my mother made sure to finish the explanation.  Tripe is the stomach lining of the cow, and sometimes sheep.

Mom did love two things edible: fish and vegetables.  We had a boat and daddy fluctuated between salt water and fresh water fish – almost always caught by daddy.   A consequence of this was fish for breakfast.  Not really so unusual down south – but most everybody I tell think it’s weird.  To this day I eat fish for breakfast sometimes.  Yum (for real this time!).   Mom also loved shellfish – she loved to crab and did not mind (too much) the picking of the crabs, mostly because daddy was such a big help, which is a messy business.  Every time we went near the beach we would haul back fresh shrimp and cleaning them mom DID mind.  She would place newspapers on the floor between our breakfast room and the den where she could see the TV and watch her “stories”, and sit there and cuss (she was a champion) while she shelled and deveined what seemed like ENDLESS shrimp.

Thanks for allowing me this trip down mom’s food memory lane.  It was fun! Click here to visit our website and check out our Mother’s Day Menu!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Tip

Folks I stumbled upon another brilliant way to get rid of stuffing (IF you have any leftover!!!)  I always have it left over because it’s probably my favorite part of the meal besides gravy, and I make double the amount of stuffing to the amount of anything else I make!!

Fry up some breakfast sausage while you’re nuking your stuffing. If you would prefer, Italian sausage works beautifully as well.  Sometimes Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering  puts Italian sausage in our stuffing if I’m in that sort of mood for Thanksgiving.   Lay the sausage on top of the hot stuffing and top it with a fried egg.  Kind of like eggs ‘n toast but richer and BETTER!!!!   This should be accompanied by a steaming hot cup of coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice.  Just sayin’.   Happy coma, Lula

Your Nose Knows!

Smell is your most powerful sense. I don’t know about you, but I have been in the middle of nowhere, caught the scent of something, and it has brought back a memory I didn’t even know I had!

Recently, Gordon and I were drinking a bottle of wine, and as with all wines I find special, I was more into sticking my nose into it than tasting it. There is a special delight in anticipating the taste when the bouquet is so enticing. I take my time, inhaling sharply, inhaling slowly, swirling the glass thereby aerating the wine, inhaling again, sometimes repeating this process so many times that Gordon is frustrated and says TASTE IT already!   He wants to discuss what I find in my nose and in my mouth and compare it to his experience. Yet another joy of wine tasting.  Frequently we will open a bottle, pour a taste immediately, then let the bottle sit for 10 minutes, and taste again, let the bottle sit 20 minutes more, then taste again having lovely snooty discussions about the changes that have occurred.  And if you’re raising an eyebrow as to why I haven’t brought up decanting, let me tell you why decanting can be a lovely way to show off the color of a beautiful wine, and a lovely way to aerate an important wine if you’re drinking it immediately (not to mention showing off that fancy decanter). But if you have the time to let the wine sit and settle, do it my way. It’s way more fun.  And a lesser wine, sold for a premium price to an unsuspecting buyer, will fall totally flat after decanting.

This particular wine, a 2014 Cuttings from The Prisoner Wine Company, made me respond emotionally.  Sometimes I respond intellectually but this time, there was definitely a warm fuzzy safety elicited by the bouquet and I didn’t even struggle to figure it out.  I just went there and enjoyed it.  Then I tasted, and joy was definitely brought forth! The palette lived up to the nose in an extraordinary way, bringing forth complexities to be mulled over; reveled in.  I began trying to put words to my experience. Leather, I said. Fine Wool, I said. Cherries, I said. Tobacco, I said. GRANDADDY!! I said.  And joy was born. I was back in my grandfathers arms, in his lap on his armchair, with his pipe at the ready on the humidor side-table. He liked a cherry tobacco. He wore his business suit.  He had just come home from work and we were eager to snuggle.  Thank you, Cuttings, for the memory!

A Note From Chef Lori

Did you know that Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering can work with your wine and pair your food? We do it all of the time! We also can provide your wine and match your food. Here’s a little tip for you!

Click here to visit our website!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day

As I write this newsletter, my daddy is sitting in a hospital waiting to go home.  He’s been there several days after a collapse at home and a diagnoses of pneumonia.  This is his second hospitalization for pneumonia this year and naturally, everyone in the family is concerned.  Daddy has an amazing spirit, though, and I’d like to share some of the things that keep him going:

Daddy is very slow to anger, but when he blows, find the nearest cast iron bathtub to crouch down in.  For daddy, explosion is sometimes the best medicine.

Daddy would rather be on the water (ON, not IN) than ANYwhere else in the world.  Preferably in silence.

Daddy is a man of few words (hence the silence above).

At 83, Daddy still races in regattas, and still wins.

Clint Eastwood looks a great deal like my daddy.

Daddy has a very dry sense of humour, and he’s so slick you don’t even know that sometimes it’s directed AT you.

Daddy has a hard time saying no to the people he loves.  This makes them love him more.

Daddy is a well respected Harley “dude”, at 82 graduating from a Heritage Softail to a Freewheeler Trike.

Once daddy makes a promise, you can count on it.  You can really count on my dad.

Daddy hobnobs with some extremely hi-falutin’ people.  You’d never know it.  Daddy’s never thrown a name around (Jimmy Buffet for one) or tried to impress anyone with his connections (Russian Olympic Sailing Team, America’s Cup winners, Silicon Valley billionaires).  As you can see I am not above throwing names around on behalf of my daddy.

Daddy doesn’t get to indulge in his favorite foodstuffs very often anymore because of his health problems, so in honor of him this Father’s Day, Lula’s is offering some of the things he loves.  Click here to see Lula’s for Lunch…and More! father’s day menu.  I love you daddy, and I miss you!

The Kindness of Strangers and Last Minute Shopping


If you have someone on your gift list that has everything and is very hard to buy for, consider Heifer International , a well vetted (by not only me but the charitable community) wonderful non-profit that helps people help themselves.  I’ve been donating in my parents name for several years.  The first year it was a goat (private joke – they never got it – but my mom used to call me a goat whenever my young adult choices were less than desirable to her).  This year I donated a “Flock of Hope” in their name – various chicks, goslings, etc. that will help a family or female (your choice) feed themselves and provide sustainable income.

‘Tis the season of Thanksgiving AND giving…though in reality that should happen all year. While traveling home from down south last Sunday on a trip that took almost 11 hours instead of 6, I was amazed at all of the “evil” drivers after surely, they were all coming from their bounteous tables of love, and heading home full of gratitude as well as stuffing…  I know I am grateful for the best meal I think I’ve ever had at Thanksgiving – it’s amazing how good it can be, as my brother says “when nobody plans and everybody just pitches in and brings what they love”.  I am grateful for being able to stay in my brother’s new house and for meeting his new girlfriend.  I am grateful for my sister making me laugh.  I am grateful for being able to see her “I just returned from Colorado and even though it’s 70 degrees and sunny,  I’ll be damned if I’m not going to wear my snow bunny outfit that makes me look so CUTE!”  I am grateful for my brother and sister in law’s good humour and generous spirit, and for being able to visit with their son, my nephew, and enjoy his charisma. I am grateful for my almost 16 year old Pug, Oscar, behaving like a 2 year old the entire week.  I am grateful for working not one, but TWO puzzles with my mom and dad!  The puzzles really had us feeling stubborn.

What I’m most thankful for, though, is the kindness of strangers.  I don’t share much in common with Blanche Dubois (well, maybe her flair for the dramatic and hopefully, her eloquence), but one thing we ALL share with Blanche is that we “have always depended upon the kindness of strangers”.   We all like to think we’re an island and we “can handle it” but make no mistake, the kindness of strangers, whether you’re aware of it or not, has helped you along your way.

I’m a dingbat, but I expect the best of people, and I’ve found that when you expect goodness, people deliver.  Twice this “season” (fall) I have either left my purse in the grocery cart or in a public bathroom.  Both were promptly returned to the register untouched and unharmed.  What amazed me most though, was leaving the scene of an unusually large catering for 170 (a favor for a good client) and KNOWING (hint hint, string theory) as I maneuvered the cart containing chafers, fuel, stands, platters, bowls, baskets, hot boxes,  tablecloths, bags, etc. that I was in over my head (or under the cart as it will soon seem).  I’m Wonder Woman right?  Why would it occur to me to have help there?

So I’m on the cobblestone area of a sidewalk moving toward the curb where my vehicle is parked, in a not so great, dark neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati.  I’m maneuvering slowly, the images and thoughts swelling in the back of my cortex…”this isn’t a great idea – I’m feeling the cart a little unbalanced, losing a little control…no no No NO NOOOOOOOOO! as it swerves away from me and all aforementioned supplies go flying off the curb and into the middle of the street.  Within TWO SECONDS I was swooped down upon – a man and a woman came running across the street, a car came out of nowhere and zoomed past my passenger side and zipped to the curb in front of me;  the driver flew out and I swear his feet didn’t hit the ground before he was gathering up all of my accoutrement and, along with the other two, was arranging it neatly in my cargo area.   I was so tired – my feet hurt so badly, had I NOT had the accident it would have taken me 10-15 minutes to load everything properly; with the fall and their help, it took all of 2.   Whooosh!  The Ninja Turtles disappeared.   Strangers, wherever you are, thank you!

Full Circle, or, Why String Theory Is My Religion



Anybody that knows me well (and even if you don’t – I’m so infinitely fascinating that I’m just SURE you’ve stalked my Facebook page) knows that I always say String Theory is my religion.  To help assure you that I’m not completely off my rocker, let me give you the very basics of string theory, or quantum physics.

Remember the book and the movie The Secret?  That’s string theory.  What goes around comes around.  Thoughts are things.  The Butterfly Effect.  All this sound familiar?  EVERYTHING is energy!  But what, pray tell, does this have to do with food?  Well – it doesn’t have to do with food per se – but it DOES have to do with Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering.

A few weeks ago, I was catering a party at which I was also a guest.  This is happening more and more because my clients have become friends, and my friends have become clients over the years (10, to be exact!).  Then again, the next night, I was catering  another party at which I was also a guest.  An overwhelming feeling of blissful zen overcame me as I realized that my life has become thus.  I am constantly surrounded by wonderful people that I love, who love me.  I am privileged to be able to share my gifts with those who appreciate them.  I am living my dream!

10 years ago when I was dragged kicking and screaming back into the world of “food service” in the form of Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering (thank you Earl) I vowed I would never again perform work that made me unhappy or did not fulfill me.  I would never again work for someone else (surprise!) and I would never again be beholden to someone else’s idea of commitment and service (the surprise is that I discovered you’re ALWAYS working for someone else; no matter what you do, there is always a customer).

So, finished with the “would never agains” I began the “live your dream” portion of my life.  I began to live every day and speak and act just as I envisioned Lula’s would be in perpetuum.    I said then, and I say now – this business of mine should be called “These Two Hands” because these two hands are the only ones that will ever touch your food.  The past couple of years would be considered a “tipping point” if I wanted to tip.  I don’t.  Many offers of setting up a retail shop, or taking over a venue have come and gone and to all, a grateful “no thank you”.  I know who I am, and I know what makes me happy.  Only with this knowledge can I make YOU happy.

As I am writing, I answer the phone and say “no” to a request for 350.  These two hands cannot lovingly prepare beautiful nourishment for 350 people.  It would require a broken back and a broken soul, or, it would require other hands that could not possibly express my love and vision. This kitchen is filled with love.  Lula’s food is filled with love.  And that, in turn, fills me.  Happy Anniversary to ME!


A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

When last month’s newsletter was published, many of you reached out to me with much humour and encouragement.  One of my friends, Julie Garrigan, dug up a poem by John O’Donohue that I’d like to share – it’s BEAUTIFUL!!!

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
Ad you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness takes over like listless weather;
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuse in your senses, open up
To all of the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

The Definition of Exhaustion

The Definition of Exhaustion

wine reducing


First, let’s make my grocery list. It’s 8:45 AM and I can get to Jazzercise by 9:30 if I just concentrate on the list. Exercise is essential to keep the panic attacks at bay! Hard to do – no sleep last night; so excited about all of the commitments that have been made  to deliver a wonderful culinary experience. Finish the list just in time! 2 pickups to make; shouldn’t take too much time right after Jazzercise – I can be back in the kitchen whirring away by 11:30AM.

Head to the car. Life is good. Get in the car, and realize there’s no grocery list. Exasperated, walk back in the house to retrieve the list which must be on the counter by the door where I keep my purse. Not there. Go into the office – gotta be on the desk, right? Not there. Search the kitchen – there’s a counter where I always put my lists – recipes, menus, work orders, all things pertinent to the business I RUN – that’s easily visible from the “slinging hash” station and the sink and fridge. Not there. Have a meltdown. Sink to the floor, tears streaming, cursing why? WHY? WHYEEEEEE? as my husband jumps up and frantically searches the whole building for the list that is preventing me from starting my day. Tears still streaming, I rise to the occasion (literally) and retrace all steps screaming “Now I’ll NEVER get to Jazzercise!” which is indeed, true. I am too late now to get the exercise I so desperately need to keep my meltdowns to a minimum. Husband does not find list. One last time, I retrace my steps and LIGHTBULB, I remember I dropped a pizza box (Marco’s, if you haven’t tried it) into the recycling bin right before I opened the car door. Check the bin. List on top.

Relieved now, let’s re-think this. Perhaps missing Jazzercise isn’t such a bad thing. I can get a head start on my long day; gain an hour. I’ll just head straight to the first stop and get a jump on this “I’m wonder woman I can do this” day. Get to my destination, realize it’s Sunday and the store doesn’t open till 10AM – so I wait. Wait in the car for 25 minutes. Watch everybody else who knew better slowly start herding toward the door and I am reminded of an amusement park line. I wait till 10AM SHARP to get out of my car and think I’ll waltz right in. No…it IS an amusement park line! Everyone jostling and trying to cut the line, and evil determined faces making sure no one is going to get that melon before THEY do! I slowly and resignedly wait my turn, enter, saunter to the back of the store (I’ve got plenty of time, remember- I missed Jazzercise- even though I just lost 25 minutes). I pull my list out, no, wait, the list isn’t in my purse ? I dig deeper. No list. Must have left it in the car. Frustrated, I retrace my steps back to the car hoping it might be on the ground somewhere in between and save me a few steps (I would rather park far away from the store right next to a cart drop off than close to the store and have to return the cart). No list. All the way back to the car. The list sits waiting for me. Retrieve the list, smile (it’s a choice!), and resume my day.

First leg of the journey of this day done. Should have been the 2nd leg, but what the heck. I’m only exactly where I intended to be at the beginning of the morning – on schedule as if I HAD attended Jazzercise.

Next stop. Retrieve list from the seat beside me, no, wait…where’s the list? I ALWAYS put the list on the seat, or at LEAST in my purse. My purse, that’s it. Look in the purse. No list. Dig deeper. No list. Turn the car back on, drive back to my last purveyor and check the parking lot – first stop – cart drop off. There sits my cart! But no list. Frantically drive to front of store and park illegally (I don’t have TIME for this) with blinkers on, run in, first to the customer service center (surely someone would be NICE and hand it in). Not a chance. Retrace steps to checkout line – no one has seen a thing. March furiously back to the vehicle, contemplate giving up, scratch that idea because I CAN’T give up, people are DEPENDING on Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering (note to self – a sense of self-importance might lead to panic attacks)!  Drive back to destination # 2 , wander around the store helplessly, hoping to remember 3 or 4 of the most necessary items on my list, spend about an hour drifting amongst the aisles, happily recognizing a list member or two and throwing it in my cart. Wander aimlessly to checkout, pay, drive slowly and giddily home. Slower and slower now…each item gets put in its proper place. Realize this day was simply not meant to be. Float upstairs, crawl under the covers, and wait for another day. It’s 11:30 AM.

I’m too tired to figure out the moral of this story. Please submit.

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering Wins Angie’s List 2014 Super Service Award!

 Lula’s Receives High Honors as Only Regional Caterer Awarded Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014
SSA_2014_highresCincinnati, Ohio  April 9, 2015 – Customers have spoken—rating Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering, a Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky catering service run by Chef Lori Pierce, as the top in service for the Greater Cincinnati region. Lula’s for Lunch…and More! earned a 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award, the only caterer in this region to receive this award, and was recommended by the local marketplace and consumer-review site for an exemplary year of service reflected by its “A” ratings.
Celebrating a 10-year anniversary in June, Chef Lori has been a local pioneer in the seasonal, farm-to-table food movement and believes in “Scratch, Local, and Seasonal” preparation coming from sustainable supplies. Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering specializes in serving exceptional food for distinctive events serving 10 to 100 guests. Chef Lori takes pride in providing menus custom-designed for client preferences. She works with an array of clients from large multi-national corporations to non-profit organizations and individuals, making their events one to remember.
To win an Angie’s List Super Service Award, a business must meet strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines. Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
Commitment to Service
“I want to thank our customers for recognizing Lula’s with this important honor,” remarked Chef Lori Pierce, owner of Lula’s for Lunch. “We know that every event is special for a different reason, and at Lula’s, we strive to find what is unique for each and bring that flavor to life with global cuisine that is fresh, healthy and seasonal.”
 About Angie’s List
Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between nearly 3 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly-rated service providers in 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of authentic reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

About Lula’s for Lunch…and More!
Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering creates delicious and inventive cuisine to impress your guests and clients in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. Their custom menus delight an intimate dinner for 10, a celebration for 100, and anything in between. Preparing the cuisine directly in your home, office or venue, Lula’s for Lunch…and More! always strive to serve the freshest, healthiest food, from free-range protein to pesticide-free vegetables. Chef Lori Pierce (Lula) has been delighting palates with her unique, boutique creations in the Greater Cincinnati area for more than 25 years. A native of the Deep South and eager student of global gastronomy, Chef Lori believes her degree in music and love for the creative arts, as well as world travel, has led to her continued success in the kitchen.
Lori Pierce, Owner
Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering
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