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Published: Sunday, 10/28/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

COMMENTARY

Competition cooks up some surprises

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE FOOD COLUMNIST

My great-grandmother, who died at 96, spent her last several years at a home for the elderly. Even toward the end, she kept her wicked humor sharp.

“I’m going to end it all,” she announced one day. “I’m going to go downstairs and eat the borscht.”

Times have changed since then, and the food served to residents at institutions for older people has greatly improved. Not only is suicide-by-borscht no longer an option, some meals are now eagerly anticipated.

So good has the food become that five area institutions participated last week in the Wood County Throwdown, a contest featuring the best food the organizations’ chefs had to offer. About 100 people came out to the Penta Career Center to try the food and vote on their favorites. They were joined by three judges: Penta superintendent Ron Matter, Owens Community College culinary arts teacher (and last-minute replacement) Gretchen Fayerweather, and your sometimes-humble correspondent.

The event’s sponsor, the Wood County Committee on Aging, brought in the chefs and cooks from five institutions in Wood County: Waterford at Levis Commons, Bowling Green Manor, Sterling House of Bowling Green, Blakely Care Center, and their own Wood County Committee on Aging.

All the food had to be prepared during the event, and nothing pre-made was allowed. The dishes were brought out to be judged without identification, to ensure fair voting.

The competition was fierce, but the judges eventually gave their overall award to James Price of Sterling House of Bowling Green. He and his crew made an appetizer of salmon croquettes, an entrée of orange-glazed chicken with potatoes and vegetables, and bread pudding with chocolate and caramel for dessert.

The People’s Choice Awards, voted on by the non-judge diners, were handed out for each course. Dave Napierala of Waterford at Levis Commons won for his appetizer salad of lettuce, wilted pears, Gorgonzola cheese, red onions, and candied pecans. The entrée award was picked up by Anne Hodulik of Bowling Green Manor for her casserole of ground beef, noodles, and cheese, topped with crushed taco-flavored Doritos. And Ms. Hodulik also won for her dessert of Pecan Sandies cookies, pumpkin pudding, cream cheese, chocolate frosting, and whipped topping.

And not a drop of borscht to be found.

Pancakes by the numbers

Saturday is pancake day in Lima, the day when volunteers from the Lima Noon Sertoma Service Club sell pancakes for charity.

Doesn’t sound like too big a deal, right? Organizations hold fund-raisers for charities all the time, and pancakes are just pancakes, right?

They are, unless you make more than 19,500 of them. In one day. And if you sell them to more than 4,800 people. Then it is a very big deal.

How big? Big enough to cover with more than 700 quarts — that’s 175 gallons — of syrup. Big enough to wash down with more than 4,000 cups of orange drink, more than 2,200 cups of coffee (and 1,500 containers of creamer), and 300 gallons of milk. Big enough to serve with 1 ton of sausage.

That, as they say, is a lot of pancakes. And at $8 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under, that adds up to a lot of money for the organization’s favorite causes, including the Lima Noon Sertoma Speech and Hearing Program, American Heritage and Freedom Day, the Faurot Park Shelter House, the Salvation Army, the Sertoma Hearing Aid Recycling Program, and other projects.

The 56th annual event will be held in the Lima Senior High School cafeteria from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Drive-up service will also be available.

Nun’s sense

You serve up a big dinner for your family. Or maybe you just sit down with a plate of something by yourself.

How do you know the food is healthful? How do you know it is nutritious? There is so much information, misinformation, and malinformation out there, how can you know whom to trust?

Well, would you trust a nun?

Sister Rita Wienken of the St. Francis Spirituality Center is a force in the organic food movement; she has been growing organic food for 30 years and in 2005 she founded Seeds of Hope Farm, a chemical-free farm on the St. Francis Community campus in Tiffin.

On Nov. 17, Sister Rita will sponsor a day-long workshop about nutrition, health, and organic foods. The workshop, Hungry for Change: Creating a Healthful Food Table, will be from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the spirituality center, 200 St. Francis Ave., Tiffin. The cost is $30.

For more information, send an email to peace@franciscanretreats.org or call 419-443-1485.

A good cause

Leukemia and lymphoma are devastating diseases, but enormous strides have been made in fighting them. Still, research costs money, and around these parts money comes in the form of all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinners.

St. Elias Orthodox Church is holding its annual spaghetti dinner fund-raiser next Sunday, Nov. 4, to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is fighting to overcome cancers of the blood. The dinner will be served from 12:30-6:30 p.m.

A donation of $12 is requested for adults and $6 for children 10 and under for a bottomless meal of spaghetti, bread, and salad.

The church asks that anyone interested bring a photo of loved ones who have been afflicted with cancer. A prayer service will be held to honor the loved ones who are fighting all forms of cancer, as well as in memory of those who have lost the battle.

The church is at 4940 Harroun Rd. in Sylvania, just south of Flower Hospital.

Items for Morsels should be submitted up to two weeks before an event to food@theblade.com.



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