CUMBERLAND — Al dente!
With names such as Pannone, Divico, Juliano, Delloumo and Palumbo in the mix, you know you are dealing with people who have earned Ph.D.s in spaghetti, sauce and meatballs.
For the first time since 2007, the traditional Italian spaghetti dinner will be served at St. Mary Church on Oldtown Road, returning what many considered to be a Cumberland-wide event to the Queen City’s South End.
“The dinner used to be only for St. Mary’s, but now it is a parish-wide effort,” said Sue Green, one of seven people turning out 2,100 meatballs Thursday morning.
The local Catholic churches continue to have individual services, but are now lumped into one parish. Our Lady of the Mountains Parish includes St. Mary, the Church of St. Patrick in Cumberland, St. Ambrose in Cresaptown, SS. Peter and Paul in Cumberland, and St. Patrick in Mount Savage.
By the time the dinner takes place Oct. 13, just shy of 3,000 meatballs will be in a state of prechewed readiness. One hundred pounds of spaghetti will intertwine on what organizers anticipate will be 1,000 plates.
“That morning, Caporale’s Bakery will bring 121 loaves of fresh sliced Italian bread,” said Cathy Pannone. “We have to serve Caporale’s bread, the best.”
And then there is the sauce, the Pannone family recipe.
“I could tell you what’s in it, but then I’d have to kill you,” Pannone said.
The spaghetti dinner began in 1948 and first took place on Virginia Avenue. At that time, and for a few decades afterward, the section of town bordered on three sides by Oldtown Road, Virginia Avenue and Industrial Boulevard was informally known as Little Italy. Former residents talk about the delicious smell of the air when foods were being prepared in the many Italian households.
Don’t expect perfectly spherical meatballs with your spaghetti, sauce, salad and bread. Like snowflakes, no one meatball shape matches that of any other meatball. These meatballs are handmade. Different sizes and shapes of hands result in myriad meatball configurations.
The common denominator? They each taste great.
“We don’t use bread crumbs,” Green explained. Dried Italian bread is soaked in water and then pulled apart to mix with the ground beef and garlic and create an aroma that will have many following their noses to Cumberland’s South End on Oct. 13 between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The meatball shapers and movers on Thursday ex-plained that in the early days of the dinner, the Italian women would come to the kitchen and prepare everything in one long, drawn-out effort, nourished to some degree by an appropriate amount of wine.
Nowadays, as much preparation as possible is done in advance.
“We precook the spaghetti for three minutes,” Pannone said. “Then on the day of the dinner we put it in boiling water until it is al dente,” she added, referring to the phrase meaning perfectly cooked.
Pannone explained that money brought in from the dinner will be used for a variety of needs throughout the parish.
“St. Mary’s church bells haven’t worked for a couple years,” she said. “All the churches need upkeep.”
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUMBERLAND — Al dente!
- Latest news
Stafford ending 37-year career in District Court
Kathy Stafford, administrative clerk for District Court of Maryland District 12 since 1986, has announced her retirement following her career of more than 37 years of service in the district court system.
Frostburg man who admitted robbing Short Gap bank now in West Virginia jail
Frostburg man who turned
himself into Maryland
authorities for the robbery
of the First Peoples Community
Union in Short Gap is now
in a West Virginia jail.
South Africans sing, dance, cry for Nelson Mandela
Themba Radebe spun slowly in a circle.
First he pointed his cellphone camera at a group of children chanting Nelson Mandela’s name as they waved posters of the anti-apartheid champion. Then pivoting to his right, Radebe aimed his camera at a swaying group of adults who sang in Zulu while rocking and clapping.
Foul-mouthed county employee placed on leave
A man who said he’s planning to run for county commission was cut off during the public comment period of Thursday’s Allegany County Commission meeting after twice using variations of the “F” word.
Another Allegany County volunteer fire department is facing difficulties
Another Allegany County volunteer fire department is facing difficulties.
Commission seeks help from delegation
Allegany County commissioners on Wednesday offered their top legislative priorities for 2014 to members of the delegation that represents the county in the Maryland General Assembly.
City offers $300,000 to purchase East Side School if demolition grant secured
An announcement was made Tuesday during the regular meeting of the mayor and City Council that the city is making an offer of $300,000 to purchase the former East Side School, located on Reynolds Street, if the city can secure a grant to demolish the structure.
Craig Morgan, Uncle Kracker to headline 2014 Allegany County fair
Concerts have been booked for the 2014 Allegany County Fair with Craig Morgan to perform July 14 and Uncle Kracker on July 15. Both concerts are scheduled at 7:30 p.m.
First phase of WVSDB rebuild estimated to cost $20 million
Detailed plans for the first phase of construction for the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind was shared with the Romney City Council on Monday evening.
Allegany Museum to host state sports history exhibit in 2015
The Allegany Museum will play host to a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition on Maryland sports history in 2015. The museum was one of five host venues chosen by the Maryland Humanities Council for the exhibit called Hometown Teams.
- More Latest news Headlines
- Stafford ending 37-year career in District Court