Schools turn to breaking bread to make bread
As Frank Sinatra crooned through overhead speakers and candles burned on tables covered with white and red paper, Achaia Sigel was digging the mood in the multipurpose room at Zephyr Cove Elementary.
The fifth-grader just finished a plate of pasta during the school’s spaghetti feed last week. Achaia said her favorite meal portion was the salad, but she seemed to enjoy the atmosphere even better.
“There should be more (of these) because it’s fun to see all the parents and people,” she said.
The spaghetti feed was the first for the school, said its principal, and on Monday the Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School had its own pasta dinner. With high turnouts at both events, one question comes to mind: Why is eating spaghetti in a school’s multipurpose room at night so popular?
The pasta feed was about building school community in fostering the socialization between families, said Chris Perdomo, principal of Zephyr Cove Elementary. It was also part fundraiser, with the entry fee at $2 for adults or by providing an indoor game for snow days. The fundraiser was mostly designed to cover costs, Perdomo said.
“I’ve been wanting this for four years,” said Perdomo, who was manning the salad dressing station. Perdomo has been the principal of the school since the 2002-03 school year.
Then there’s the food itself, sometimes reduced to a supporting role in such events.
“It’s an easy meal to prepare,” Perdomo said.
Well, maybe. It took most of a day to prepare the sauce, which contained a total of 30 pounds of meat, said Theresa Beeler, vice president of the school’s parents club. The sauce was in a vat on an industrial oven in the school’s kitchen. Beeler’s daughter helped prepare the plates, as did Johnelle Prado, parents club president, and others.
“I think the hardest part was figuring out portions,” Prado said.
The Zephyr Cove dinner attracted 175 adults and children while a similar event at the Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School on Monday fed 400.
The pasta dinner at the magnet school, a reincarnation of the Meyers campus that closed during the 2004-05 school year, was aimed to raise money for the fifth-grade class, whose members dressed smartly in black-and-white garb for their duties to seat and serve guests.
Parent Carry Loomis said diners were waiting to be seated once the decorated tables with origami flowers filled.
“It was like an elegant restaurant,” Loomis said.
Tickets were $5 for adults and $3 for children. Food was donated by businesses such as Lira’s Supermarket, Tep’s Villa Roma, Bonanza Produce, Truckee Sourdough Company and Crystal Dairy Foods.
Even though the food was donated and the main course consisted of “noodles” and “sauce,” Loomis said there was plenty of work to go into the event. Especially those in the kitchen.
“They work their butts off,” Loomis said. “I was at the door collecting money.”
About $5,500 was raised from ticket sales and a silent auction that will be used to cover costs for a fifth-grade field trip to Coyote Point in the Bay Area, Loomis said.
Most of the schools in the South Shore hold similar events, whether it be with root beer floats or pizza. Bijou Community School held a tamale fundraiser during Christmas, said Principal Karen Tinlin.
A few years ago when Tinlin was principal of Al Tahoe Elementary, now closed, the school hosted a dinner with tamales and tacos. Mexican dancers performed.
“It was just an amazing event,” Tinlin said. “Phenomenal. Not only did we have lots of families but we also had so much food. So much food.”
There was a lot of food at Zephyr Cove during its dinner Feb. 8. Leftovers were plenty.
Tanner Sigel, brother of salad-lover Achaia, liked the cheapness of the meal.
“You don’t have to pay as much as a regular restaurant,” he said.
The family, also consisting of 7-year-old Jalen and father Ken, finished their meals but delayed their departure by talking to others and walking among the rows of 16 tables.
Nearby, a group of students seen running around the room were huddled and talked to Perdomo, who had to leave the salad dressing station.
Ken Sigel put on his jacket.
“I came here because I didn’t have to make dinner,” he said.
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