Everyone who knows me knows how much I hate fundraising. I passionately detest selling cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, gift wrap, popcorn and all the other shit that gets foisted on us through cash strapped organizations. I’d sooner just make a donation and get on with life.
The worst offender, believe it or not, is the school. Right – the schools that are supposedly funded through our hard earned tax dollars are constantly fundraising for various projects. And don’t even get me started on how the schools also con us into supporting their pet charities; that’s a whole other blog entry!
Anyhow, I usually look at fundraising information, roll my eyes, and toss it in the recycling bin. Recently though, I have to give the schools credit, they are coming up with some creative and interesting ways to fundraise. A few weeks ago the school newsletter told us all about the latest endeavour – they had partnered with the local Italian club who puts on a spagetti dinner every so often, and if the school could sell a certain number of tickets, the club would donate a specified amount of money back to the school. Tickets were $8. It was an “all you can eat” dinner. I have a growing teenage boy who consumes vast quantities of food. This sounded like a match made in heaven, so I promptly ordered enough tickets for all of us.
The dinner was this past Friday night. Parking was scarce, but we managed to squish our SUV into a spot tucked way back in a corner. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get back out, but hey, I figured I’d worry about that after dinner.
We surrendered our tickets to the smiling folks at the door, and were handed off to Vinny, whose job it was to find us seats. No easy feat, because the place was packed! It’s a hall, like you’d have for a wedding reception, and they had round tables crammed into every available inch! And every table was full of happy people chow-mowing their way through enormous plates of spagetti! But to Vinny, a short, stocky Italian chap, this was old hat. He stood at the entrance to the hall and simply held up three fingers, representing the three of us. At the far side of the hall, strategically placed other short, stocky Italian chaps checked out the tables around them. When one of them found three seats together, he held up three fingers and Vinny directed us to him.
Once seated, the next step was acquiring food. The line stretched half way around the room, but was moving rapidly. The serving counters were staffed by Italian kitchen underlings, the next generation, if you will. Let me explain…
The kitchen was staffed by little Italian grannies. You all know the stereotype – short, plump, stocky, older ladies, the matriarchs of their families, who can cook a gourmet meal out of nothing. You think TV cooking shows are special? Bah, they have ingredients. I swear, an Italian granny can take a wilted celery stalk, the last half cup of flour in the house, and a dead garlic clove and whip up a five course meal for twenty seven people. You thought Jesus was special when he fed the five thousand with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread? Trust me, that pales in comparison to the miracles Italian grannies can perform in their kitchens!
So, if the kitchen was staffed by the Italian grannies, this left the serving tables to be staffed by the Italian-grannies-in-training – their daughters, the Italian mamas. We grabbed plates, hot from the dishwasher (which was attended by the Italian grandpas under the eagle eyes of the Italian grannies), and started through the line. The first Italian mama handed us each a small loaf of bread trying to masquerade as a dinner roll. The second Italian mama checked us each out, and then scooped steaming hot spagetti onto our plates. Interestingly, Sean received a much larger serving than either me or Brianna. I suspect Italian mamas have experience with growing teenage boys…. The third Italian mama served up meatballs. Not just any meatballs, these were whopping big, yummy looking Italian meatballs! At the next table you could purchase from an assortment of tasty looking Italian pastries and desserts, but we skipped that table, figuring we could come back if we were still hungry. Hungry, HA! Did I mention it was “all you can eat” spagetti? We bought pop from the bar, and snaked our way through the tables back to our seats.
All I can really say about the food is that it was GOOD! Words fail me. The spagetti was cooked just right; it had the perfect amount of sauce; the sauce was spicy enough without being too spicy; the dinner roll was perfectly fresh; and the meatballs were to die for! Brianna went back for seconds just to get more meatballs – and she’s not a meat-eater!
When we left, we were stuffed and content, and we agreed we’re going to keep our eyes open to see when the Italian club does another dinner like this again. It was open to the general public, and you could buy tickets at the door, so we think we’ll definitely show up for the next one.
Well done, Ecole Dufferin, on finding a fundraiser I and my family could really sink our teeth into!