Fall for Frontenac

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It’s pretty good timing to return to the midwest for fall, my absolute-without-a-doubt favorite season. I’m certainly not missing the rain that accompanies fall in Atlanta or the weird misty/unexpectedly hot at times autumn of London. In Kansas there are crisp, clear days, changing leaves, football, and, most importantly, pumpkin everything.

This past weekend was the big Festa Italiana in Frontenac, billed as “A Taste of Nations,” which for the Reveals really means “A Taste of Fried Chicken, Two Meatballs, and A Sausage with Sauerkraut on the Side.”

If you’re not caught up on your queue of Food Wars episodes, Southeast Kansas is known for fried chicken…there are at least 4 (5?) ‘Chicken Houses’ within 15 miles of our house. Hello, yum. Festa is mostly known for the home cooking of the many descendants of Italian immigrants who settled in Frontenac. Last year Mom attempted to compete with our Swedish meatballs recipe, but we decided to leave the meatballs to the Italians this year.

In the week preceding Festa, Mom and I rolled and dipped over 20 dozen buckeye candies so we could introduce our Kansas neighbors to my favorite Ohio treat. I probably dipped as many peanut butter balls in chocolate as I ate, so I’m actually surprised we ended up with that many.

We did a little preliminary research on whether the people of Southeast Kansas had ever tasted a buckeye. Since the answer was a resounding “No,” we decided to include a bit of educational material on our table.

Every year Festa-goers buy ticket books that give them access to samples of food prepared, donated, and served by community members. There are also silent and live auctions, a band, and play areas for children. The goal of the evening is to raise money for scholarships (about $150/semester), which go to every single graduate of Frontenac High School continuing on to higher education. What a testament to the strength of this community and their dedication to each other.

The weekend, complete with a homecoming football game, a parade, and Festa Italiana, definitely made me feel more at home in this community.

Check back this week for our buckeye recipe!


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