Pemberville cooks up 'fair-ly' delicious food PDF Print E-mail
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 08:57
Kenny Baker with Freedom Post 183 of the American Legion stirs 350 pounds of beef on July 24. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
PEMBERVILLE — A large percentage of Wood County’s population had their appetite for “fair food” whetted — but not totally sated — at the Wood County Fair which ended a week ago.
Luckily, the 2012 Pemberville Free Fair is just about to get under way, with a whole new range of tasty food options.
Most believe the gold standard is supplied in the large American Legion food tent located on the north side of the legion hall on Front Street.
The noodle soup, pies, beef chili, roast beef, shredded chicken and sloppy jo sandwiches are all made from scratch thanks to the hard work of the Freedom American Legion Post men, their women’s auxiliary and others.
Getting the food ready is a multi-week process and one of the most time-consuming steps took place July 24 when all the beef was cooked in one giant operation.
Volunteers started by cooking 350 to 400 pounds of roast beef, an open-air process that took from 6 a.m. until noon.
“Then at noon they used that same fire for the sloppy joe meat,” said Joanne Busdeker, crediting the post and its Sons of the American Legion (SAL).
The meat is used for roast beef sandwiches, and 300 pounds of ground beef for the chili, sloppy joes “and Coney dogs topping.”
“We’ve been doing this for many, many years and this is a moneymaker for us,” Busdeker said, adding that the auxiliary shares funds with the post and the community at large.
“I know it’s close to 50 years the organization has been doing this,” she said with certainty.
Marilyn Starkey of Scotch Ridge and Carolyn Borcherding of Pemberville also have leadership roles in the food preparation.
“Years ago we did the chickens locally for the shredded chicken sandwiches and the chicken noodle soup” but these days the group gets their chicken from Roots.
“I take care of all the homemade pies,” Busdeker said, describing her own supervisory role. “We have about 400 pies for over the four days” of the fair.
Everything runs like clockwork from those five decades of experience.
The legion auxiliary doesn’t have enough volunteers on its own to make 400 pies, so they’ve come up with a creative solution.
The first’s days pies are made by auxiliary ladies. Those on days two to four are made by “area church ladies, Eastwood Farm Wives, and Modern Homemakers,” who hold to the same high standards. That way the profits can be shared by the participating organizations.
From their years of experience, the auxiliary team of cooks have discovered that “everybody eats by their eyes.”
When it comes to pie, “coconut cream is one of our favorites,” said Busdeker.
Running close behind are requests for lemon, banana, butterscotch, cherry, blueberry, grape and cheesecake.
Pumpkin and apple slices may not be snapped up quite as quickly, Busdeker said, but they also have their fans.
So come on out to Pemberville Wednesday through Saturday for a taste of grandmother’s kitchen. It’s a local labor of love.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:11

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