The days of the ’60s, when mom stays home and cooks all day? Those days are gone. EVERYBODY’S SO BUSY THESE DAYS. My son gets home after football practice at 7 p.m., then has three hours of homework. You have to fit dinner in. It’s a “grab and go” era. Most people are getting home around 6 p.m. If you make dinner yourself, you’re eating it at, what, 8 p.m.? People want quality food that they can microwave in three minutes.
I love to cook. IT’S MY PASSION. I quit high school my junior year and took up cooking as a trade. I had my own restaurant in Salem for 10 years. I got burned out and sold it, then I said I’ll find a little place to do my catering. We slow down January through March. Four years ago, I thought if I could MAKE 30 CHICKEN POTPIES A DAY, I could keep the staff working [year-round]. We have 35 employees and are opening a second, larger 1,200-square-foot STORE IN PEABODY BY MARCH. We’ll have hot chicken potpies to go, to make it even easier for customers.
I don’t cook at home. I heat up whatever we’ve cooked that day. My wife works. WE ALL SIT DOWN TOGETHER. Otherwise, there’s no family time.
I’m a cancer patient at Dana-Farber. I do chemo every day at home. I still work every day, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., plus have the catering. I’m a believer that, because I keep moving, I feel stronger.
I don’t think this [“grab and go”] trend is going to go away. HARROWS HAS BEEN DOING THIS SINCE THE 1930S. Now there’s young guys like me. — As told to Kathy Shiels Tully
Interview has been edited and condensed.