The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 26, 2012

Mike Pound: Turkey dinner to make early arrival in Scammon

There are several mysteries of the universe.

For example: Why would anyone ever appear on “Dancing With the Stars”? Why does it cost more for a beer at an NFL game than it costs to pay a replacement referee?

But for me, one of the biggest mysteries of the universe is why we have turkey only two times a year.

Think about it. We all go crazy for turkey on Thanksgiving and on Christmas. Every Thanksgiving and every Christmas, we all “ooh” and “aah” when the turkey is unveiled at the dinner table, and then we spend the next 30 minutes stuffing (ha) ourselves with so much of it that we barely have the strength to stumble into our livings rooms, plop down in front of our television sets and fall asleep watching whatever football game happens to be on at the time.

Why don’t we have a big turkey dinner, say, in July or October? It is, as the nuns used to say, “a mystery.”

Speaking of nuns, the guys with the Knights of Columbus over in Scammon, Kan., sort of wondered the same thing about our peculiar take on turkey timing. The guys asked themselves: “What’s wrong with turkey in October?” When they decided that the answer to that question was “Nothing,” they figured a turkey dinner in October would be a fine way to raise money to help fund the Knights’ charitable giving.

This year, the members of the Scammon Knights of Columbus Council are holding their turkey dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at the St. Bridget’s Parish Hall. When I chatted with member Cecil Flood about the dinner, I asked him if this was one of those rare St. Bridget’s dinners when the men do all of the cooking. He quickly set me straight.

“Oh no,” he said. “The Knights are sponsoring (the dinner), and the women are preparing it.”

The reason Cecil was quick to credit the women for their help was because he didn’t just fall off the pasta wagon. See, Cecil told me about the time a member of the Scammon Knights of Columbus made the mistake of going on TV to talk about a fundraising dinner and forgot to credit the women in the parish for their help. From what I understand, when people in Scammon saw the TV interview, they all pretty much said, “Go ahead and put the toe tag on him. He’s done.”

That’s not to say that the women of St. Bridget’s do all of the cooking. They just do the cooking that counts. Look, just about anyone can cook a turkey. If I can cook one, I’m pretty sure anyone can. Sure, it helps to have a few secret herbs or spices to hit the bird with, but really, the key to cooking a turkey is to not overcook it. The real cooking for a turkey dinner centers around things like the dressing, the sweet potatoes, the mashed potatoes, the gravy and, of course, the desserts.

Cecil told me that the Knights will cook up 400 pounds of whole turkeys and about 40 pounds of turkey breasts. The turkeys will cook in batches, beginning late next week, in the eight or nine ovens in the parish hall, then will be reheated on the day of the dinner. Sally Saparito, the owner of Josie’s Ristorante in Scammon, also will cook several turkeys for the Knights. Sally also is preparing most of the potatoes for the dinner.

“Without Sally at Josie’s, we would be in trouble,” Cecil said.

The cost of the dinner is $8 for adults and $5 for children between the ages of 7 and 11. Children 6 and under eat for free.

The dinner will be a great chance to get an early fill-up of turkey. Just remember, your next chance for turkey isn’t until Nov. 22.

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