Raising money for Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish and School is what publishing six cookbooks in five decades has accomplished. The Parents Club was responsible for the first four, and the parish organized the last two anniversary editions, said cookbook organizer Bonnie McGuinness.
“It was successful 10 years ago, and we were looking for a fund-raiser to help us with the 50th celebration,” McGuinness said of the newest, sixth edition of the cookbook that is being published during this 50th year of the parish. Its cover showcases a 50th anniversary parish logo designed by Father Michael Mitchell, pastor.
“Father Mike designed a special logo for the 50th anniversary incorporating the school logo,” McGuinness said. It has been used on anniversary car stickers and ornaments as well.
The latest cookbook has more than 200 recipes and an updated history of the parish that includes the merger with St. Lawrence in 2008.
Family recipes and tried-and-true favorites are highlighted in the cookbook.
“Some people chose to put the same recipes in because they were so popular,” said McGuinness, who worked as school secretary from 1984-2005. Her six children attended OLDP as did several of her 11 grandchildren.
McGuinness and a committee of women that included Lynn Drewes have been working on the book since October.
“We’ve been having a lot of fun,” said Drewes, who helped with the first cookbook as vice president of the Parents Club in 1976. For that cookbook, Drewes remembered typing in all the recipes and hand-pressing the binding for each cookbook.
This time, individuals filled out a form, and the publisher did all the work.
“It’s been a lot of meeting people we haven’t seen in a long time,” Drewes said, including 150 founding parishioners returning last July for a parish celebration.
Drewes’ family is from Austria, so she submitted traditional meals that her family eats on Christmas Eve and Easter. She explains the traditions for cookbook readers as well as for family posterity so her grandchildren and great grandchildren who are second and third generations of her family to attend Our Lady of Divine Providence Elementary School will remember their heritage.
“I’m putting recipes in there for my grandchildren,” Drewes said, mentioning the Poor Man Meal on Christmas Eve, and soft homemade cheese (that Lynn’s daughter Courtney Rome now makes), dyed Easter eggs and Polish sausage served at Easter Brunch that she has prepared for 50 years. “The next generation will have this.”
Angelo Brocato III, descended from the Italian family who founded Brocato’s Italian Ice Cream Parlor, took the time to share his Pasta with Tuna (Pasta al Tonno).
School principal Elvina DiBartolo submitted her family’s Italian recipe for Oyster Soup, dedicated to her mother, Elvina C. Vivien.
“They are wonderful people, faithful people,” Drewes said about the parishioners at Our Lady of Divine Providence in Metairie. “People who don’t say no and who are always willing to help you out. They are prayerful people, thankful people. We’ve made a lot of friends here, now that I look back on it.”
Mickie Morris, parish director of religion, was on the anniversary committee and submitted her popular crawfish pasta recipe that came from her daughter’s friend Katie Brandstetter.
“This recipe is a winner,” she said. “Whenever I make it, people say, ‘I need this recipe.’ It’s very easy to do.”
Morris cited the strong spirituality in the parish.
“The support of parishioners for one another is amazing,” she said. “The generosity of this parish … where there is a need, the generosity is unbelievable. The camaraderie and the fellowship is amazing.”
Closing out the 50th anniversary, the parish held an anniversary Mass on its founding day – March 16 – with Archbishop Gregory Aymond as the main celebrant. A May crowning and Marian procession through the streets surrounding the Metairie parish is scheduled May 3 after the 10 a.m. Mass, followed by a spaghetti and meatball dinner provided by the Knights of Columbus.
Our Lady of Divine Providence has used the Friends and Family Cookbook Publishers out of Ohio (www.friendsand familycookbooks.com) to publish its cookbooks. For details or to obtain a copy, call McGuinness at 469-4213. Cookbooks are $15, including postage.
Christine Bordelon can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.