By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with family and friends. It is something how an entire holiday is devoted to eating a big, old fashioned meal that everyone kind of looks forward to. I do not think a person could eat like that all of the time. It is all so good.
The recipe for this week is one that is really delicious. It was made by Larry and Charlotte Bradley and served last Friday evening at a special event at the Masonic Lodge in Centerville.
BAKED POTATO SOUP
8 to 10 large potatoes
2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. flour
1 ½ quarts milk
Salt and pepper
4 green onions, diced and chopped up
1 c. sour cream
1 lb. crisp cooked, crumbled bacon
8 oz. cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake potatoes in the oven until tender. Melt butter in a large soup kettle. Slowly blend in the flour with a wire whisk until thoroughly blended. Gradually add milk to the butter/flour mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in the salt and pepper and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly.
Cut potatoes in half, scoop out the potato and set aside. Chop half the potato peels and discard the remainder. Then slice up the potatoes into pieces. When the milk mixture is very hot, whisk in the potatoes, green onions and potato peels. Add the sour cream and crumbled bacon. Put the cheese in a little at a time until melted.
The special event that this soup was served at, was during a Reception that was held by the Centerville Chapter of Eastern Star, for Vickie Butler, who is one of the local members of the organization. She was honored for being appointed as a Grand Officer for 2012.
Vickie and her husband Rick, who are from Exline, and their family, were on hand for the special evening. Other officers and members of the local Centerville Eastern Star Chapter, including Denise and I, were also in attendance.
A soup supper was served by the members of the Eastern Star in the Masonic Lodge Dining Room to about 70 people, including the Grand Chapter of Iowa, Order of the Eastern Star, Grand Officers and their companions, along with other invited guests.
Another member Debi Roberts, prepared a different kind of soup that was also served that evening. It was a homemade vegetable soup, that simmered in the lodge kitchen all day, filling the air with a delicious aroma, as a lot of members worked through the day, getting ready for the big event.
Following the soup supper, everyone assembled in the main Chapter room, along with other out of town Eastern Star members and guests who attended, which swelled the group to about one hundred people in all.
Connie Coulter, who is a former Worthy Grand Matron of Iowa and a member of the Centerville Chapter, was in charge of the special ceremony honoring Vickie. During that time, another member, Rhonda Sturms, presented Vickie with a special gift that the members had especially made for her. Since one of her emblems for Vickie’s office of Grand Adah, is the Veil, they had one made and embroidered with information, personalized just for her.
Introductions of the dignitaries who were there were made and special congratulations were offered by different ones, to honor Vickie during the course of the evening.
The entertainment was provided by a group, from the First United Methodist Church in Centerville, known as God’s Hands. Their unique performance was well received by those in attendance.
Following the official ceremony, everyone returned to the dining room for an elaborate array of desserts that were made and served by the members. A lot of visiting occurred, until finally the event drew to a close later that evening.
Denise and I hosted one of the State Grand Officers and her husband at our house that night. Tracy graciously gave up her bed for the couch, for our guests. Nancy and Tim Ramthun from Oskaloosa were our guests. Nancy is the Grand Conductress for 2012, with the Grand Family, as it is known.
Nancy, Tim, Denise and I had fun visiting at our house once we got back from the evening’s activities.
Saturday morning, we had a nice breakfast before Tim and Nancy journeyed on to another Reception in the town of Bedford, which was to be held that afternoon.
It is kind of neat, to see Christmas decorations going up at different places, as you travel around. There are even a few places here in Exline, that have their outside Christmas lights up and on, which look very festive for the season.
The weather is beginning to feel more like wintertime. I know a lot of people like to spend Thanksgiving weekend putting up their Christmas decorations and their tree, so they are free to do other holiday activities throughout the month of December. That, always seems to put everyone in a good mood.
The Royal Neighbors of America recently sponsored the Nation of Neighbors Program. For over 115 years, the organization has believed in the neighbor helping neighbor philosophy.
Each year the members nationwide, are invited to nominate deserving women, who could benefit from the program. More than $1 million has been distributed since the program was began in 2007.
The money that is received, may be used to help women begin a business or any project that is deemed worthy of empowering them to realize a dream.
This year locally, the Exline Chapter 3000, had two women that were nominated and received checks from the Royal Neighbors of America for their projects. They were Joni Davis and Ruth Matheny.