Small Plates

Frassati Suppers up and running again

St. Joseph Catholic Church parishioners Robyn Hansen (left) and Jan Slosser get the plates ready for Frassati guests at the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater in downtown Vancouver. George Delgado (not pictured), also cooks with the St. Joe’s crew.

After an extensive kitchen remodel in the Lower Hall of the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater, we are serving Frassati Suppers again.

What’s Frassati? It’s a welcoming place in Vancouver where volunteer greeters, chefs, waiters and others serve the poor and homeless in the spirit of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The supper is part of the downtown parish’s Pier Giorgio Agape Ministry, an outreach effort named in honor of the 24-year-old Italian man who died in 1925 from polio he likely contracted while visiting the sick. He was beatified in 1990.

My job is to coordinate the volunteers and help in the kitchen. The once-a-week effort averages 25 workers a week. I never planned on volunteering; it just happened as I met dedicated people committed to helping the poor in our community.

And we do make a difference: In 2018, we served 8,470 meals (including seconds) to the 6,209 people who signed in. It took 3,354 volunteer hours to make this happen.

The work alone has been a huge blessing for me. But I have also made new friends. For example, Greg Repman brings in a crew the third Thursday of the month from Our Lady of Lourdes in northwest Vancouver, and Robyn Hansen, a parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church, serves meals the second Thursday of each month. Robyn recently made sloppy joes, coleslaw and potato tots for dinner. The meal was a big hit for our guests.

So I was thinking that sloppy joes might make a quick and easy meal as families begin thinking about back to school and the rush of homework and activities. Robyn’s recipe comes from her sister, Kim Whisman.

Frassati guests wanted seconds and in some cases thirds of Robyn’s sloppy joes, coleslaw and tots.

Sloppy joes (serves four to six, depending on size of buns)

1 pound of hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup of ketchup
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
Brown hamburger and drain fat.  Add onions (and green pepper), spices and wet ingredients and simmer covered on medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve on toasted buns.
Janet Cleaveland

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 49 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

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