Meals at Old Zionsville UCC are a Reason to Give Thanks
There's nothing better than good home cookin’ in someone else’s kitchen.
I am usually guaranteed two dinners out each year – one in May and the other in October.
Those are the months when a good home-cooked meal is prepared by the members of Old Zionsville UCC; something they have been doing for more than 50 years. Wanda Yeakel remembers helping with the dinners “when there were just two little stoves [in the former kitchen].”
Their current kitchen has all the amenities – commercial-sized equipment – stove, oven, dishwasher and refrigerator. They also have lots and lots of cabinet space, along with a roomful of pots, pans and utensils.
I went to visit the volunteers the week of May 16, when the preparation for the May 21 dinner was in progress. It was a sight to see. Everything was very well organized, but then after 50 years, all the kinks should be worked out!
They baked 18 turkeys – 375 pounds – on Tuesday of that week and de-boned them all the next day.
When I took my granddaughter to the Village Pre-school at the church on Thursday, I stopped over to check on the crew -- just in time. They were making the pie shells that day – mixing the dough, rolling it out and putting it into pie pans.
Clara Breunig, 91, still gets her hands into the bowl and mixes it the “right” way. She knows just how much flour, shortening, and water go into the bowl. No need to measure, just put it, she orders the workers. As she “feels” the dough, Clara tells them to add more water or flour until it is just right.
Then came Friday. Apples were peeled for pies. More than 300 pounds of potatoes were peeled for the potato filling. About 200 pounds of ham was delivered. Pickled cabbage was made with 24 heads of cabbage. And more than 150 pies were made --apple, rhubarb, cherry, lemon sponge and more.
But the best day was Saturday. As we walked across the street from the parking lot, my husband and I could smell the aroma of turkey … ham …and filling. It reminded me of going to my grandparents on Thanksgiving, with the smell of turkey in the air.
The dinners are always a great time to socialize. There are families and friends eating together or going from table to table greeting each other. But this year a lot of the talk was the same – did you hear about the fire last night? They were referring to the fire at Countryside, a neighborhood ice cream and fast food landmark on top of the Shimerville Hill.
It is also a nice way to meet people. Eight people are seated at a table, talking to each other as food is passed around the table. Sometimes we all share our thoughts and ideas about various topics or answer questions a person may have about the area.
But the best thing of all – it was some good down home cookin’, in someone else’s kitchen.