You say tomato, they say tomatoes!
Yes they sure do, the members of Northbrook United Methodist Church. Their Sept. 7 Tomato Project Dinner was smashing, in a good way. At least 300 pound of tomatoes were smashed and turned into meat and marinara spaghetti sauces poured over pasta to feed some 175 hungry spaghetti-lovers.
“Come to the tomato dinner!” said Jack Brownlee, town crier-style who tried to drum up business among motorists or cyclists at the intersection of Cherry and Western.
Brownlee, 15, a Glenbrook North High School sophomore, was part of a promotional youth posse assigned to ask people to come to dinner.
The three Emmas, Emma Cintado, Emma Brooks and Emma Wilkinson, all 13 and all Northbrook Junior High School eighth-graders, performed cartwheels and round-offs, anything to grab the attention of passers-by who might want to join the all-you-can-eat spaghetti feast.
Everyone got into the tomato spirit.
Scott Rose, a greeter, was wearing a red sport jacket that any 1970s television anchorman would rock. “I feel like a tomato, I look like a tomato. I think I am a tomato for the evening,” he said.
The sauce made was concocted with expertise Phil Braden of Northbrook and a crackerjack team of cooks.
“I’m not giving away any secrets,” said Rev. Earley, of the special sauce. “We have two secret recipes, marina and meat. It took several teams several days to make the sauce.”
How much sauce did it take?
“I have no idea,” said Rev. Melissa Earley. “Gallons and gallons and gallons of sauce. The most I’ve ever seen. The most tomatoes I have ever seen, thanks to Red’s Nursery in Northbrook.”
When the generous folks at Red’s on Dundee Road heard there was a tomato shortage, the result was nothing short of amazing. Red’s donated 300 pounds of high-quality tomatoes, to supplement donations by Northbrook residents.
“They gave us a ton of tomatoes, as did the community,” said a grateful Earley, to Red’s and residents.
“Thank you for the tomatoes,” said Rev. Earley, to all who made tonight’s sauce possible.
And the best part about the Tomato Project Dinner was that proceeds, about $2,000, would benefit people served by food pantries.
“I’m proud of all of the folks who helped set up and I am thrilled the (Northbrook) Rotary helped us serve today and that Sunset Foods helped provide food for us,” said Earley. “It’s been a real community effort to feed the hungry and our community and across the county.”