Amazing Grace, Amazing Food


Amazing Grace Food Pantry held its annual fundraiser tonight. Each year local businesses, churches, and civic and government organizations, donate soup, bread, and desserts. People pay according to their willingness and ability. Servers include politicians, heads of organizations, parishioners, and clergy. This year outstripped previous years in every way possible. There were more diners, more food, better selections, and terrific entertainment.

I met someone from every aspect of my life from lots of neighbors, to members of my weight-lifting class to hospital staff, to colleagues from the halcyon days at the Middletown Press, to library staff, to people from a couple of nonprofits I’ve served. There was no place to sit when Larry and I arrived, so we stood and chatted with various folks.

A brief introduction was followed by a woman singing. Everyone said, “Wow!” She was sitting down so no one could see. I thought her voice sounded a bit familiar and made my way toward the microphone. It was Kitty Kathryn. She married Larry’s dad after his parents divorced and calls him and his sisters her children. She did a rendition of “Amazing Grace” that made me cry and distracted me from the food.

Returning to ground, my comments began with, “Soup, soup, beautiful soup.” We migrated at the recommendation of a friend and neighbor to the lobster bisque, a donation by Blackbird Tavern. It serves great food and is owned by the son of one of the men in my veterans’ writing group. The politician who was serving adores Larry so we wound up with extra large helpings. Plus he was nearing the bottom of the tureen, which gave us extra lobster. Oh my. Sublime is the best description for the blend of meat, flavor, and texture. Word must have spread because I heard they ran out about twenty minutes later.

Next I tried a potato soup, “made with love” by the brothers of St. Pius. A garnish of herb oil added just the right spark to the comfort of the soup on a blustery fall night. Also delicious. Larry declared the firefighters’ chili excellent. Ditto a kale soup made with kielbasa. He had another, but I never found out what because he was too busy chatting with this former classmate, that veteran friend, and the myriad of neighbors.

It was approaching time for me to leave for the writing group meeting, but I decided to try one more. It was vegetarian vegetable. My brain had ceased recording because I’d chatted with so many people. I think it was made also “with love” by Holy Trinity Church. Anyway, it was delicious. I grabbed a piece of bread from one of the tables and proceeded to the desserts.

The young women from Mercy High School did not help much with recommendations as they pointed to each batch of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, pastries, etc., saying, “People really like that one. Those have been refilled twice.” I grabbed a cup of coffee and decided to try two from NORA Cupcake Co.

The vegan chocolate mini tasted fabulous, a little peanutty, a whole lot chocolate-y. The yellow cake version lost some of its flavor to the coffee that I swallowed to balance all that sugar. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy! But it was all for a cause that needs as much support as possible and more than worth every penny donated.

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