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Published: Saturday, 9/12/2009

Packo's takes USS Toledo submarine a taste of home

On July 9, a taste of Toledo found its way to the USS Toledo fast-attack nuclear submarine at its home port in Groton, Conn.

Tony Packo, Jr., with a staff of four that included Rob Horvath, chief operating officer for the Tony Packo company, Jason Mandel, Jeff Hart, and Lenny Homish flew to Groton with coolers filled with the Tony Packo signature foods.

"The submarines were parked in the harbor," said Mr. Packo, president of the company named after his father. Once there, "We had a trailer with a large grill. It was like a picnic."

The Toledo contingent served 120 USS Toledo servicemen a lunch of Tony Packo hot dogs, chicken chili, chicken paprikash, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. "We even took the MOAD - Mother of All Dogs," said Mr. Packo, who was later photographed with Cmdr. Douglas Reckamp, captain of the USS Toledo, who presented him with a plaque. The two were also holding the hot dog buns signed by the commander of the USS Toledo. Like the buns signed by celebrities which are a signature decoration at the Tony Packo restaurants, these will hang on the wall of the Front Street restaurant along with a flag from the ship given to Mr. Packo in March, 2008.

"This all started last year [in March] when we went to Newport News [Va.] when the USS Toledo was in dry dock. Petty Officer Rob Smalley, who grew up in Toledo, called Rob [Horvath] and asked if we could ship food to Norfolk. Rob said, 'let's just take it there.' We took a van with coolers and set it up in their cafeteria on the [repair] barge."

The Packo team prepared and served food for 140. "The gratitude from the servicemen was incredible," said Mr. Packo of the experience. "They were so appreciative."

Then in May, when Fleet Week was held in Fort Lauderdale, a contingent of Toledoans visited the USS Toledo again. This time they were able to go on board the submarine. "We said, 'let's do the food again,'" said Mr. Packo, explaining how the most recent visit to Groton transpired.

This friendship will continue with a visit to Toledo from the officers of the USS Toledo in October.

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Rudolph Foods has launched a What's for Dinner? contest to encourage consumers to share original and creative Hispanic-inspired recipes incorporating Rudolph Foods or Pepe's brand pork rinds.

A panel will judge submitted recipes based on authenticity, creativity, and flavor. Five finalists will be selected. The grand prize winner will receive free products for a year plus $300.

Pork rinds, also referred to as chicharrones, are a traditional and popular snack throughout Mexico, according to the company. They are made from pork skin that has been deep-fried twice, which makes them balloon into a honeycombed puff, as described in the Food Lover's Companion.

According to Rudolph Foods, pork rinds have zero carbs, 80 calories per serving, and 2 Weight Watcher points; of the 80 calories per 1/2-ounce serving, 45 are from fat. However, there is no significant dietary fiber listed on the label. As with many snack products, sodium is high enough to warrant eating in moderation.

When crushed, the pork rinds can act as a breading for wings or other meats or poultry.

For more information on the contest or to enter, visit rudolphfoods.com

From Chow Line, an online publication of the Ohio State University, comes information on folic acid. In May there was an update of the guidelines for folic acid for adult women. The update says there is a substantial benefit for all women of child-bearing age to take a daily folic acid supplement or multivitamin containing folic acid. Taking the daily multivitamin with 0.4 to 0.8 milligrams of folic acid is a way to prevent neural tube defects - serious brain and spinal birth defects - in newborns. These birth defects can occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a women finds out that she is pregnant. So for folic acid to help best, a woman needs to take it before she becomes pregnant.

The Toledo-Poznan Alliance presents Dozynki 2009, the annual Polish harvest celebration and dinner, on Sept. 27. The public is invited to begin the day with a procession and Mass of Thanksgiving in Polish and English at 10:30 a.m. at St. Adalbert Church. After the Mass, Dozynki 2009 continues at noon at the Central Park West reception hall, 3141 Central Park West Drive in Toledo. Dinner begins at 1 p.m.

The menu includes traditional harvest foods catered by Pinnacle Events and the staff of Central Park West. Hot appetizers are cheese, potato, and kraut pierogi. The soup, a white borscht is made with smoked kielbasa, potatoes, marjoram, and cream.

Salads include cucumber salad in sour cream and cabbage salad. The main courses are breast of chicken stuffed with mascarpone cheese and spinach and pigs in a blanket (cabbage rolls) served with herb- roasted redskin potatoes or caramelized onion mashed potatoes. Beverage and dessert are included.

The cost is $30 before Sept. 18 and $35 after Sept. 18. For reservations and information call Rob Szczublewski at 419-244-2512.

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.

Contact her at:

food@theblade.com

or 419-724-6155.



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