Epicurean Delight, Not Exactly

Diane was a fellow traveler on the trip to Ireland that I participated in a few years ago.  In a meeting we were requested to attend before the trip she was telling someone that her high school, Hoban Dominican, was no longer in existence.  My jaw dropped since I also attended Hoban Dominican and since it was a small school with few students, I rarely meet fellow alumnae.  I jumped into her conversation to find that she graduated the year after I did.  We agreed to stay in touch after the trip and one of our favorite things to do is going to the Church dinners or breakfasts.  We’ve attended Knights of Columbus dinners, plus a few others including the annual corn roast at Saints Peter and Paul, my parish.     

Church dinners are usually filling and somewhat tasty, but hardly restaurant fare, and not so priced either.  No tips are required or left and frequently all you have to do is find a seat and one of the servers brings a tray with the meal on it to you, empties the tray in front of you and goes back to the kitchen with the tray.  Then they come around with coffee, tea or water.  One can find neighbors, fellow parishioners, many strangers, families with children, the occasional loner, an assortment of senior citizens, happy not to have to prepare a meal for themselves that evening, or groups of friends at these gatherings.  Most frequent repast seems to be the spaghetti series but this past Saturday evening Saint Monica’s Church hosted a stuffed cabbage dinner that was really one of their best, in my experience. 

Diane chatted amiably with her associates from the ladies guild while I wolfed down half the contents on my plate before she buttered her roll.  I am acquainted with these ladies from other functions we’ve all participated in at St. Monica’s.  It wasn’t my mom’s stuffed cabbage, but it was good anyway and it was actually better than I have had in some restaurants.  It seems that the professionals use a meat thermometer to test the doneness of ground beef in the cabbage rolls – hence the meat inside is not sufficiently cooked, in my opinion.  While this remains one of my favorite meals, I will not order it in restaurants again, because my preference is for the meat to be thoroughly cooked.   It is good to know that the old ethnic cooking still has a presence in twenty-first century life. 

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