List making is not my strong point. This makes a trip to the market somewhat annoying to me and anyone who is with me, as I repeatedly approach the checkout line only to veer away at the last second to grab yet another item that comes into my addled pate. Inevitably, I forget a crucial ingredient.

Professionals cannot afford to be so loosey-goosey. And if you happen to be a caterer, the high-wire-without-a-net branch of the gustatory world, it doubly pays to get yourself organized.

Jalapeño Girl, a San Francisco chef and blogger whose feats of spice eating are renowned, shares her pre-event to-do list. It offers a tantalizing peek behind the scenes with reminders about equipment, clothing, and, of course, snacks. But it’s when she gets visceral that things get interesting:

Clean up equals being around and exposed to: slush buckets, garbage bags, recycling containers, dirty platters and dishes. It’s distracting, revolting and ugly to have food and gunk encrusted under nails, so I always keep them super short.

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