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Gray Matters: In praise of church suppers

— The aroma's in the air!

The signs are everywhere!

Ah, one of my favorite seasons of the year has begun yet again. No, I'm not referring to the holiday season, Thanksgiving, Christmas or even football. I'm talking “church supper season,” that autumnal odyssey of comfort food and good company. Today's column features these very successful fundraisers, which are also wonderful gatherings for socializing and sampling homemade specialties at very fair prices.

Our “season” began this year on Nov. 3 when we attended the harvest dinner at St. Joseph the Worker, off Tulip Street in Liverpool. As the church bulletin proclaimed: “The dinner is a great way to sample many different savory recipes and dishes prepared by our parishioners...We provide turkey and ham along with all the usual side dishes...and everyone is asked to bring a dish to share.”

This particular church supper was not the typical fundraiser that most others are; parishioners were asked to bring in a favorite side dish to share and, of course, human nature being what it is, folks bring in a family favorite that is tried and true, as this is not the time to experiment with a new recipe. The hot vegetable and potato casseroles took up an entire serving table, grouped together by similarity. The cold salads, like macaroni, potato and tossed, filled another table. The turkey and ham, stuffing and gravy, were at the ends of both tables. Folks inched their way along the line, commenting on the variety and taking small spoonfuls of the delicacies, often identified by name with the recipe's ingredients, out of consideration for those who must be wary of certain foods. The dessert and beverage tables were on a different side of the spacious meeting hall at St. Joseph's Church, and people always lingered to look over the huge array of pies, cakes, cookies and pastries. We brought two of our grandsons with us, ages 4 and 7, and of course their ingenious little plan was to divert us over to the dessert table first!

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