Our Life MN Our Life - Page 7

focus.mnsun.com / post.mnsun.com Our Life • Thursday/Friday, November 17 & 18, 2016 Page 7 The 2015 Christmas party committee for St. Edward’s Church Dinner Club are, from left: George and Lu Heeman, Don and Judy Keough, Joan Black, Judy Gyurci, Jeanne Bakken, Bob Gyurci and Norm Bakken. (Submitted photo) 40-plus year dinner club going strong in Bloomington BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER A dinner club in Bloomington has been going strong for more than 40 years. Now, with 65 members, the members of St. Edward’s Catholic Church who belong to the club still gather on the first Saturday of the month from September through April to enjoy good food and good friendships. “The dinner club is very well established,” said Judy Keough, a 38-year Bloomington resident who serves as its current coordinator. “Three women put it together in 1975 and it immediately grew to 30 couples. It just took off. My husband, Don, and I joined in 1990 and we still feel like new ones.” The club’s purpose, she said, is to stimulate a love of St. Edward’s, to know the community and become involved in the community. “Everyone in the club volunteers at church and we’re still very active,” Keough said. Members meet in different homes each month. Six hosts offer their homes each month, and members are divided among the homes. “It’s a wonderful group,” Keough said. “Everyone knows everyone so well. I love the group and I love the people. It’s a wonderful way to get to know people.” Members take turns acting as the group’s coordinator, said Keough, who is the current coordinator. At the annual Christmas party, a club committee distributes menus and recipes for the entire year ahead. “It tells you the appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert for each dinner,” Keough said. “Everybody keeps track of what they spend.” Six hosts sign up to volunteer their homes for each of the Saturdays. If you can’t host on the date for which you signed up, you’re responsible for finding a substitute host. Callers telephone or email club members two weeks eeks before the dinner to get a tally of who ho will be attending. Then the coordinators tors takes the number of “yes” responders, s, distributes them among the hosting homes, an assigns them a food to bring. If an unforeseen illness or situation arises, the member is still committed to providing the food they were assigned to bring. “We try for eight guests at each home,” Keough said. “We try very hard to put members with different people every month.” Dinner Club evenings begin with cocktails from 7 to 8 p.m., and dinner is served between 8 and 8:15 p.m. Each of the six host sites serves an identical menu on the same night. One dinner club menu at all six homes included pastry crab puffs as the appetizer, spinach salad with warm dressing, roasted new potatoes with herbs, beef tenderloin a la béarnaise, and apple pie cake. Suggested wines were Pinot Gris, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each host is responsible for providing the entrée and the wine and setting the table. Each guest is assigned to bring one item, and is given the recipe for that item. “The nice part is that you’re told what to bring and how to make it,” Keough said. Every guest brings his or her own beverage to enjoy with the appetizers. “We all use our best china and silver,” Keough said. “It can be casual or very special, depending on the host.” The group’s numbers dwindle a little during the winter, when some members go south. Now there are members in the club who go back to the early 1970s who have saved every menu and recipe, Keough said. “I’ve kept a lot of the recipes and sometimes make them for the family and special occasions,” she said. Lorraine Romano and her husband, Marty, 50-year residents of Bloomington, are one of two charter member couples that still belong to the dinner club. She recalls that it started when Roz Nichols and Maryann Isom asked if the Romanos would be interested in forming a gourmet dinner club. The group put a notice in the church bulletin seeking people who would be interested in joining. “The first meeting of everyone who signed up was at Roz’s house for Christmas,” Romano said. “We brought hors d’oeuvres and had wine. The following month, we started bringing menus to the host house. I distributed menus to the people who were coming to decide what everyone would bring.” The initial gourmet club evolved into doing ethnic menus each year. “Then it changed from a gourmet group to a dinner club,” Romano said. This year, Romano and longtime member Judy Gyurci were in charge of devising menus for the entire year. “We get ideas from cookbooks or magazines, and sometimes use someone’s favorite dish,” Romano said. “I don’t think we’ve ever repeated a menu.” The entire group gathers for a summer party, usually in someone’s backyard or a party room. And a holiday gathering is held every year at the church. “We try to make it interesting and fun,” Keough said. “Our priests are always invited as guests,” Keough said. “All of our priests have been given the chance to come. Some of them have come back even after they’ve been assigned to another church.” Although most of the members live in Bloomington, some now live in Eden Prairie or Burnsville and still attend the church. “We’re still open to more people,” Keough said. “We have a wonderful conglomeration of people — doctors, lawyers, pilots, engineers.” Judy Keough formerly managed private clubs, and Don operated hotels and restaurants. Apart from the dinner club, they joined with 12 other people five years ago to form a wine club that meets every three months. But the dinner club continues to provide a monthly event that all the members happily anticipate. “We frequently sit at the table until 11 p.m.”, Keough said. The conversations after dinner just go on and on and on. 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