April 28, 2010 10:23:00 AM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
The whir of drills and pounding of hammers punctuate the air at historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus these days. But the resilient Episcopal Church Women group isn’t letting the extensive months-long renovation under way deter them from organizing the annual Eight O’May fundraiser May 7. Except for a brief period during World War II, when supplies were scarce, Eight O’ May has been observed at St. Paul’s since 1863.
Although construction will mean no traditional dine-in luncheon this year, creative volunteers have responded with an efficient takeout system, longer hours and even delivery of the renowned homemade chicken salad or barbecue plates to your place of business or home. The always-popular bake sale will have extended hours, too.
“This annual event each spring is being changed this year due to the restoration project of the church sanctuary and the stained glass windows,” said chairperson Annis Cox.
ECW president Anne Freeze added, “We’re offering more opportunities by extending the hours to 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 7, and we’re providing free delivery for orders of six or more plates. But even for smaller orders, we’ll still deliver, for a $10 donation. We’ll start taking phone orders earlier than in the past, too, starting on Monday.”
Cox explained, “The ECW has long used the funds raised by this event to support outreach ministries to the Columbus and Lowndes community.” Proceeds from Eight O’ May provide assistance to the Greater Columbus Learning Center, Good Samaritan Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, HEARTS After School Tutoring Program, the Panama Pediatric Project, Congregations for Children and Episcopal Relief and Development, among other charitable efforts.
Advance phone-in orders can be placed by calling 662-240-0187 Monday through Thursday, May 3-6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 10 a.m. Friday May 7. Fax orders may be sent to 662-328-6384 up until 10 a.m. May 7.
While delivery will be primarily within an approximate 10-miles radius, large orders outside that area may be considered, Freeze said.
By 1:30 p.m. May 7, volunteers anticipate selling any remaining chicken salad and barbecue by the quart, for $8, she added.
The takeout lunches have long been popular with businesses, church groups, clubs — or simply gatherings of friends. Whether it’s employers treating staff or friends picnicking at the Riverwalk, Eight O’ May meals can be enjoyed in endless ways.
Eight O’ May fare
While some changes are in store this year, the same delicious chicken salad and locally-smoked barbecue — courtesy of Tom Wofford and his team — make this event special.
The all-takeout system has prompted a menu alteration or two, to help ensure meals arrive at their destinations as appetizing as they start out.
“Deviled eggs don’t travel very well, so we’ve changed the menu to include celery sticks stuffed with homemade pimento cheese,” Freeze stated.
Each chicken salad plate will include pimento cheese celery sticks, chips, sweet pickles, crackers and a large, wrapped brownie. Barbecue plates will include meat, homemade potato salad, pimento cheese celery sticks, bread, dill pickles and brownie.
Plates can be picked up at a designated takeout window facing the back parking lot of the church. Payment can be by cash or check. Sorry, no debit or credit cards.
The collaborative fundraiser in an exercise in teamwork, involving the women and men of the congregation.
“It takes a lot of people to make this happen,” said Freeze, praising all the volunteers who pull together for this event dating back to the period when news of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reached Columbus.
The Eight O’ May bake sale is an annual tradition, too. This year it’s in good time for Mother’s Day celebrations. Homemade cakes, pies, cookies, cheese straws, breads and more will be sold inside the church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — unless all the goodies sell out earlier.
Lindsay Clemons is making a cherry pie for the sale and shares the Betty Crocker recipe in today’s food pages.
“My husband and I moved here in December 2007, and since then I’ve chopped a lot of celery for the chicken salad,” she laughed. But the work, she said, made her feel as though she was contributing to something important. “I’ve wanted to be involved ever since.”
For this two-crust pie recipe, Clemons includes instructions for the homemade crust, although the mother of a 13-month-old prizes convenience and recommends going with ready-made crusts from the grocery store.
Enjoy the cherry pie recipe, as well as others from the Eight O’ May faithful.
For the filling:
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 cups sour cherries, pitted *
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, if desired
(NOTE: You can substitute 6 cups frozen unsweetened pitted red tart cherries, thawed and drained, or three cans, 14 1/2 ounces each, pitted red tart cherries, drained, for the fresh cherries.)
For the crusts (9-inch):
2 cups all purpose or unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
n Heat oven to 425 degrees.
n To make the pastry (if not using store-bought crusts), mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using a pastry blender or crisscrossing two knives, until particles are the size of small peas.
n Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
n Gather pastry into a ball. Divide it in half and shape into two flattened rounds on a lightly floured surface. If desired, wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes to firm up the shortening slightly, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky and lets the water absorb evenly throughout the dough. (If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.)
n Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, into a circle 2 inches larger than the upside-down pie plate, 9-by-1 1/4 inches, or 3 inches larger than a 10- or 11-inch tart pan.
n Fold pastry into fourths and place in the pie plate; or roll pastry loosely around rolling pin and transfer to pie plate.
n Unfold or unroll pastry and ease into the plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch the pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.
n For the filling, mix sugar and flour in a large bowl. Stir in cherries. Turn into the pastry-lined pie plate.
n Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate. Roll other round of pastry. Fold pastry into fourths and cut slits so steam can escape, or cut slits in pastry and roll it loosely around a rolling pin.
n Cut the butter into small pieces and sprinkle over cherries.
n Cover with the top pastry, with slits cut in it. Trim overhanging edge; then seal and flute.
n Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.
n Bake 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits.
n Cool on wire rack at least two hours.
BETTY LAND’S CHEESE STRAWS
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
One stick butter’
1 pound extra sharp cheese
n Grate the cheese and melt the butter. Cream the two together.
n Sift together flour and salt and red pepper until the mixture resembles a course meal.
n Using your hands, work the mixture into a log, soft, melted and smoothed together.
n Put the log into the cylinder of a cookie press. Using the star plate in the press, pipe straws onto a baking pan.
n Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
LEMON POPPY SEED BREAD
One package lemon cake mix
One package instant lemon pudding (3.4 ounce)
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extrac
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.