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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Pettisville: Enchiladaville hits 16,326

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Nelson Yoder, working for his grandson, and Clay Norris, 14, working for his sister Cassie, are on the assembly line. Nelson Yoder, working for his grandson, and Clay Norris, 14, working for his sister Cassie, are on the assembly line.
HIRES / BLADE Enlarge

PETTISVILLE - For a group of Pettisville students, it was the whole enchilada. And then some.

In assembly-line fashion, with specialized tools and practiced precision, a crew of 150 workers used up 210 gallons of sauce, 2,800 packets of diced onions, 850 pounds of ground beef, and a half ton of shredded cheese to create a whopping, record-setting 16,326 enchiladas.

Packed in tins, the enchiladas were delivered to area residents who had placed orders from 32 Pettisville students who are working to earn money to offset the cost of a trip in June, 2006, perhaps to Spain or Mexico.

Although much work was done at the Pettisville school on Saturday to assemble and deliver the popular product, plenty of prep time was involved earlier in the week as well, said Richard W. Reid, a Spanish teacher who has helped coordinate the enchilada sale for the last 10 years.

During the week crews made the enchilada sauce from scratch, using ingredients that included 81 pounds of chili powder. The sauce was stored in 45 five-pound buckets. Sauder Woodworking donated the use of a trailer with a refrigeration unit, said Mr. Reid.

Workers also packaged 2,800 packets of pre-diced onions to include with the orders. Another task was browning the 850 pounds of ground beef.

On assembly day, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, parents, grandparents, neighbors, school board members, and others gathered in the cafeteria and commons area. Elementary school students served as runners, taking pans of enchiladas to the area where orders are boxed for delivery.

Many customers buy large amounts of enchiladas and freeze them, the teacher said. In the fall, students sell and make pizzas - sometimes as many as 4,500 pizzas.

"Everything we do is a lot," he said. The previous record was 15,672 enchiladas in 2000.

Mr. Reid commended Brenda Aeschliman, head of the cafeteria, for her assistance with ordering the ingredients and for helping to think "through how we put all this together."

The sales tradition was started in Pettisville by Shirley Short, a former Spanish and art teacher here.

A decision will be made this fall on the trip destination for June, 2006. Mr. Reid offers a couple of destinations with estimated costs and then students vote. In the 10 years he's been here, all five trips have been to Spain, but he said that last year's vote had strong backing for going to Mexico.

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com

or 419-724-6006.



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