Eight decades of marriage for Boca Raton, Fla., Jewish couple Lou and Edith Bluefeld includes many years working on a successful family kosher catering business.
Through Bluefeld Caterers — The Orchid Touch, the family was responsible for koshering the White House kitchen during the announcement of the Camp David Accords in the late 1970s under President Jimmy Carter. They also catered President Richard Nixon’s inaugural ball and events for members of Congress.
While the Bluefelds celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary on Feb. 23, this is also the year they both turn 100. Lou marked his centennial birthday on Jan. 9, and Edith will mark hers on Aug. 4.
Lou Bluefeld said the most important thing right now for the couple is that they’re both healthy.
“That’s the big thing,” he said. “You need enough money to exist, but after that, it means nothing. The health is everything.”
The couple met in Baltimore when they were 16. At 19, Lou’s mother asked him what his intentions were. He told his mother he didn’t have the money to get married and she told him not to worry about it.
“My mother was the one who really made the wedding arrangements,” Lou Bluefeld said.
Shortly after the wedding on Feb. 23, 1941, Lou Bluefeld’s mother died at the age of 51 in August of that year. Two years after the wedding, he went off to serve in World War II. Edith wrote to her husband every day of the three years he was in the military. After his service, the couple had two children, a son and a daughter, and the family kosher catering business flourished.
Lou Bluefeld’s mother started the catering business in Baltimore in 1937, and he worked in the business all the time as a teen. He told Edith that if she wanted to see him, she would have to come work beside him in the business, so she did. She began as Lou’s secretary.
Many non-Jewish socialites in Baltimore used the catering business for their affairs, even though the food was kosher.
“That was a unique time,” Lou Bluefeld said. “Even though it was a kosher operation, we did any fine Italian wedding and any fine Greek wedding.”
Lou Bluefeld continued, “Good food is good food, but the idea was ours was not just food; it was also an event.”
“Food is a very important part of a wedding, but it’s only one part,” he said. “The music is also very important. The flowers are important. The clothes, the gowns are also important.”
Lou Bluefeld added, “We spent a lot of our time making the whole party, not just the catering, because we realized very early in our career that if the music was bad, it was an awful affair.”
“We were insistent on the music being done property, with music being played at the right time.”
“If people were eating dinner, we made sure the music was more or less background noise,” he said. “All the little things that no one ever though about, we made sure to think about.”
Lou Bluefeld noted, “Toward the end of our career, almost 50 percent of our operation was non-Jewish work, but it was all kosher.”
The family sold the business in 1984. Edith Bluefeld commented about both her marriage to her husband and working alongside him.
“It was a very enjoyable business, and I loved it,” she said. “Today, we’re both healthy. We’ve had a beautiful life.”
Since 1985, the Bluefelds have lived at Boca West Country Club. A lot of the couple’s friends in the community in which they live are people whose bar mitzvahs and weddings they catered. The couple have also been active volunteers there over the years.
Jack and Marilyn Pechter, longtime friends of the couple who also live in Boca West, hosted an anniversary dinner for the Bluefelds. Due to COVID-19, the celebrated was limited to 11 people.
“Lou and Edith are a fabulous couple,” said Matthew Linderman, president and chief operating officer of Boca West Country Club, in a news release. “Whenever one sees them they have a gleam in their eye like they are on their honeymoon.”
Lou Bluefeld said that throughout the marriage, the couple has never went to sleep angry with each other.
“We certainly had our arguments like everyone else, but we never went to bed angry,” he continued.