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Published: Sunday, 11/4/2012

COMMENTARY

Milan family celebrates Thanksgiving in a big way

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE COLUMNIST

When the Jones family gives thanks, they really give thanks.

The Jones family — Bob, Barb, Farmer Lee, Mary, and the rest — own and run the Chef’s Garden, the Milan, Ohio, farm that provides highest-quality produce to restaurants around the country and overseas. They’re patriotic, too, so they believe in honoring members of this country’s military.

This Thanksgiving, for the seventh year, they will host a free traditional Thanksgiving dinner for active members of the military and their families.

The meal will be prepared by chef Carl Swanbeck and executive chef John Selick, so you can be sure the food will be exceptionally good. And because the vegetables will be from their own farm, well, you’ll want to try them even if you don’t like vegetables.

Dinner will be served at noon on Thanksgiving Day, and reservations are required by Nov. 20 at 419-499-7500.

Apropos of almost nothing, the last time we ate a meal there (prepared by chef Tony Dee, it was remarkable), Mary Jones was wearing a dress made out of kale. True, the dinner was Halloween themed, but we were mightily impressed by her stunning Lady Gaga moment.

Perchance to sip

There will be plenty of chances this month — even more than usual — to taste wines and beers in the area.

One wine tasting, along with dinner and a silent auction, will go to benefit St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral and its Church School Building Fund. This event will be held Nov. 16 at the Premier Banquet Complex, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., across from the Stranahan Theater. The cost is $50. For information or tickets, call the church at 419-475-7054 or the banquet hall at 419-873-3463.

Meanwhile, Middle Grounds Market in the Oliver House, 27 Broadway St., continues its regular schedule of wine and beer tastings.

The wine tastings are from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and cost $15. On Thursday and Friday, Rachel Nasatir of Grand Cru Wines will be sharing her choices for Thanksgiving wines. On Nov. 15 and 16, they will be welcoming and sampling Beaujolis Nouveau wines. And on Nov. 29 and 30, they will be serving a range of wines from cheap ($6 a bottle) to pricey ($60 a bottle).

The beer tastings are also from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and cost $10. On Thursday, they will be surveying robust beers, “robust” being a synonym for “more alcohol content than most.” On Nov. 15, they will be examining the always-popular IPAs and Pale Ales. And on Nov. 29, the focus will be on Christmas ales and other holiday beers.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

You know something is popular when it has been around for 100 years. The First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has been holding a chicken pie supper for 133 years.

The finger-licking tradition began back in 1879 — as has been noted before in these pages, the president then was Rutherford B. Hayes — and has continued every year except 1943, when wartime sugar rationing forced it to be suspended. Though the event actually began with fried chicken, it has long ago evolved into its current menu of homemade chicken pie and gravy, mashed potatoes (the church members want you to know they are real, not instant), cole slaw, cranberry salad, and assorted dessert pies.

This year, the dinner will be on Nov. 14 in the church’s fellowship hall from 5-7 p.m. or until they are sold out (they make enough to feed almost 1,000 people, but this is a popular event so don’t come too late). Drive-through carry-out service will begin at 4:30 p.m., if you want to eat the meal at home. A bake sale will also begin at 4:30 p.m.

The church is at 129 E. Elm St. in Wauseon. Look for the crowds of happy diners or, if you know the Wauseon Post Office, it’s across the street from that.

Mom recipes

If you want to meet cookbook author Katie Workman and sample some of her recipes, time is running out. Registration for her Nov. 15 appearance at the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo’s book fair ends tomorrow, Nov. 5.

Ms. Workman is the author of The Mom 100 Cookbook – One Hundred Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket, which solves cooking dilemmas, offers tips, and provides one hundred recipes from brisket to pork chops that she promises children will actually eat.

Pork chops? You really don’t have to be Jewish to attend.

Ms. Workman will be at the Leo and Vera Sekach Community Services Building on the Jewish Federation campus, 6505 Sylvania Ave., in Sylvania. The cost is $10, and includes a snack.

Registration, as we noted, ends Monday at 419-724-0354.

Pentafood

And now, a chance to do well by eating well.

The culinary program at the Penta Career Center gives high school students a great start on a rewarding (one hopes) career as a professional cook or chef. And the school’s scholarships get them that much closer.

Which is where you, the public, comes in. On Friday, the student chefs are cooking a six-course dinner to raise money for these scholarships. The menu should give an indication of what these kids — remember, they’re high school students — learn at the school:

Roasted red pepper bisque, BLT Croque Madame (a sandwich with a fried egg on top), warm quail salad, swordfish ravioli (with lobster reduction), pan-seared beef tournedos with poached leeks and a mushroom reduction, and a trio of desserts: lemon pudding cake, apple pumpkin crumble, and molasses cake with chocolate mousse.

All that, plus a little special surprise from the cooks, is just $75 per person, and the money goes to a good cause. The only thing that could make it more delicious would be wine, but there you’re out of luck. Remember, this is a public school.

The meal will be served in the school’s stylish restaurant, so seating is limited. Reservations are available at 419-661-6486. The school is at 9301 Buck Rd. in Perrysburg.

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



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