Volunteers fill the Empty Bowls effort | News | The Press and Standard

by | November 24, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: November 22, 2016 at 10:24 am

Karla Dadiecco worked the ticket table for Empty Bowls
“I’m just a bowl maker,” Dadiecco said. But like many who joined the Empty Bowls effort, her level of participation in the annual charitable effort grew the more she came to appreciate the effort behind it.
“We’re all volunteers,” Dadiecco said. From Phillip Smith who heads the program, to the people who make the bowls, to the people who make the soups, to those who do the serving, everyone donates the time and effort to ensure the success. “It is just a great  cause to support the food pantries,” Dadiecco said. We all want to be a part of the cause.
Those who volunteer, as well as those who attend the annual event participate “because of cause and because it is a good time.” Dadiecco estimates that about 100 people attended each of the servings.
To Dadiecco, Empty Bowls’ goal to provide funds for food pantries in the county is not the only benefit. “It creates nice links within the community.” “I know that I have met people that I probably would not have in the normal course of events.”
Dr. Sam Hazel, ladle in hand, was one of the army of volunteers. He spent Tuesday afternoon and then Tuesday night, dispensing tastes of his catfish stew to visitors at this year’s event.
Hazel cooked up five gallons of his catfish stew. Most of it was gone by the end of the day. “It went over pretty well,” the local dentist said.
Hazel, representing the local Rotary Club at Empty Bowls, said he has been preparing his catfish stew for the last 35 years.
Asked to impart the secret of his successful stew, Hazel didn’t hesitate before answering. “It’s getting my wife to cook the bacon.”
The bacon gets crumbled before being added to the Hazel’s concoction. The grease from the bacon is then put to work sautéing the onions.
Hazel said he’s partial to using catfish in his stew. He’s tried salmon in the past, but always comes back to catfish.
Until recently, Hazel has kept the recipe in his head and would tinker with the amount of the ingredients.
This batch, though, found Hazel putting the recipe down on paper.
Here it is:

Sam Hazel’s Catfish Stew
Six quarts of water
Six pounds of diced potatoes
Six pounds of crushed tomatoes
Six 10 ounce bags of frozen diced onions
Six pounds of bacon
10 pounds of catfish nuggets
Two Tsp. black pepper
32 ounces of ketchup
Hot sauce to taste

Add water to large pot, bring water to rapid boil.
Add potatoes, tomatoes, black pepper and catfish nuggets.
Fry bacon.
Sauté onions in bacon grease.
Crumble bacon.
Add bacon, onions, ketchup  and hot sauce.
Low boil for two and one-half to three hours.
No salt is necessary — it is in the canned potatoes and tomatoes.

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