Church Basement Dinner

The eating season has begun.  The season we celebrate by packing on all those extra pounds as if to make winter hibernation easier.  Eating season has been starting earlier and earlier in recent years.  It used to begin with Thanksgiving and continue on, pretty much non-stop, through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  But lately it’s been starting early in the fall.  I blame the Lutherans.  Also the Catholics.

It’s all their dang fall church basement dinners.  Like the one I was at today at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro.

It was served in the quintessential church basement.  The one made (regionally) famous by Janet Letness Martin in Church Basement Women and her other books.  Before there was Garrison Keillor (arguably) there was Janet Letness Martin.  Janet’s books spawned a not-so-small cottage industry of merchandise including t-shirts, aprons and the like.  Then there are Janet’s hilarious speaking engagements.  And musical theater productions, the latest of which, Away in a Basement, will be seen at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks December 1.

Janet was a high school classmate of mine.  The church basement ladies she’s been writing about for years were those at Our Savior’s.  They include my mother who, along with a dozen others, spent the better part of three hours yesterday peeling five hunded pounds of potatoes by hand for today’s dinner.  My mother is ninety-one, by the way.  But, I digress.

Today’s dinner  menu at Our Savior’s included (an infinite number of) meatballs,  gravy, two hundred fifty pounds of carrots, lefse, dessert and more. Heavenly.