A big helping of helping others

Monday, November 10, 2008

With the right amount of planning, anyone inclined toward community service can pull off a double play, eat two meals and walk away with a nice birthday or Christmas gift.

For starters, Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Foundation's annual Spaghetti Day is Wednesday.

Having once prepared pasta for 80 on a routine basis during my son's high school football days, I can only imagine what it takes to make enough to feed 3,000.

Then there's dessert.

Many individuals have committed to baking for Wednesday's pasta fest, according to Dan Muser, Cape Girardeau's parks and recreation director. The largest group effort is happening over at Notre Dame Regional High School. Family and consumer sciences teacher Tanya Davis said she expects her classes will make 25 percent more desserts than last year.

Students started baking cakes Friday. Davis said her four food classes will produce standard cakes, cheesecakes, angel food cakes and loaves of pumpkin and banana bread. It's the third year Davis has volunteered to help the city's parks and recreation foundation, which raises close to $15,000 while serving meals for six hours.

She said one of the most important lessons her students learn -- after the importance of community service -- is to read and follow directions.

"The French have a phrase, 'mise en place,' which means everything is in its place," she said. Her students work in groups of five, taking turns a head chef, sous chef, lab inspector, dish washer and dish dryer. Everyone gets a turn in each role because, Davis said, "It's OK to learn how to cook but you have to learn how to clean up, too."

Spaghetti Day is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Arena Building; tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 5 to 12 years old; those younger than 4 eat for free.

In addition to being Spaghetti Day, the second Empty Bowls dinner is 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Southeast Missouri State University's Dearmont Hall. For $10 diners get soup, bread, cookies and a lovely one-of-a-kind bowl. The money is used for food programs to help people who are struggling. Tickets are being sold at Southeast's bookstore.

A whole delegation of locals will be in Jefferson City Friday when the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation reviews nominees for the National Register of Historic Places. That's because two sites, the Main-Spanish Commercial Historic District and the Old Appleton Bridge, are among the 15 sites being considered.

Two Southeast Missouri State University students wrote the Old Appleton Bridge's application. Alyssa Phares graduated in May with a degree in historic preservation and plans to pursue her master's degree on the same subject; Sabrina Malone is a senior majoring in interior design with a minor in historical preservation.

The two chose the bridge based on the name.

"We didn't know a thing about it, except that it was unique," Phares said. They finished the application in August.

Steven Hoffman, the Southeast history professor who reviewed the students' application, said at least one student nomination a year is accepted for state review. Past projects H&H Building, the Marquette Hotel and the Ponder House are a few that resulted in a National Register of Historic Places designations.

"We try to make it real, so they can have real, professional accomplishments," he said.

Hoffman said he's confident that the students will convince the advisory council to add the bridge to the state historic register.

Questions, suggestions or tips for Lost on Main Street? E-mail pmcnichol@semissourian.com or call 573-388-3646.

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