by Angelo Bottoni
The Holidays are always my favorite time of year. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the season. From the end of October until the New Year comes, Father Alfred Center, St. Anthony’s Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation program, has special events and holiday meals lined up in succession like a string of passenger jets over a busy runway.
On November 18th (the week before Thanksgiving proper) The Father Alfred Center held our annual Thanksgiving Dinner for residents and alumni. It’s an event that we all look forward to every year because unlike every other meal cooked in our kitchen; this one is cooked by the staff.
The weeks before the dinner are spent planning the menu, shopping and preparing for what will arguably be the biggest meal of the year. The whole day is spent peeling, chopping, zesting, baking and simmering ingredients into a menagerie of culinary delights. When the decorations are up, the places set, every entrée, side and piece of pie is set up on the line we open the Dining Room to our residents and alumni. Every year they shuffle in and find an empty seat. A prayer is said, and each table takes their turn to load up plates. After all the hard work it’s very rewarding to see the guys enjoying the fruits of our labor.
It’s a challenge to juggle cooking times, and space in our small kitchen. Thanks to the diligence of my co-workers (as well as Andrew Ratoza, and Mark Beglin who both graciously give us their time this year) the result is always outstanding. Father Alfred Center ’s tradition of having the staff cook Thanksgiving dinner is one of the ways we give back to our residents who give so much to us. (more…)