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Coffee and ... Pasta Power

By Bill Dodds
When “All-You-Can-Eat” means just a little more.

Catholic Channel - -

Bill Dodds and friends discuss the question of whether the angels eat pasta in heaven, while a parish fundraising dinner brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Catholic Extension Society.”

“How can you even look at food!” Helen Orlowski demanded of her husband Julius as he finished cramming a maple bar into his mouth.

“Mmmff?” he asked.

My wife Monica and I were at a table with two other couples for the post-10 o’clock Mass “Coffee and …” We had also shared a meal the previous night at St. Felix’s annual All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner.

“What do you mean ‘What?’” Helen replied, able to decipher Julius’ mumbling.

“I mean,” he said, “I’m just a growing boy.”

“Well, you’ve got that right,” she agreed. “And you’re not getting any taller.”

The problem with the parish’s annual fundraiser is that some folks eat just a bit more than all they can eat. Me, for instance. And the two other gentlemen at the table that morning.

“It’s for the kids,” Harold Butler said, defending all three of us. “The teen group needs that money.”

“When you buy the ticket, the group makes the money,” Harold’s wife Mary pointed out. “It doesn’t help them at all when you eat every last noodle Carlo Zavaglia cooks.”

Julius’ eyes turned as glazed as the donut in his hand. “Marco Polo may have brought pasta from China to Italy,” he said dreamily, “but Carlo Zavaglia … He perfected it. That marinara sauce? It’s what the angels eat in heaven.”

“Angels don’t eat,” Helen argued. “They’re pure spirits. And even if they did, they wouldn’t chow down like you three. Am I right, Monica?”

“Carlo makes great sauce,” my wife answered, sidestepping the question.

“And if angels did eat,” Helen continued full speed ahead, “they wouldn’t come home after a meal and let their belt out two notches.”

“Just like Harold!” Mary said. And while Monica didn’t chime in, she didn’t have to. My blushing said it all.

“Well, well, well,” Helen said. “The truth comes out. Three secret members of the Catholic Extension Society.”

Copyright © 2000 Bill Dodds

The real Catholic Extension Society was founded in 1905 to support missionary work in the United States. To find out more about it go to:

Suddenly hungry for Italian? Check out the marinara recipe at:

Too much rich food? Troubled with heartburn? Stop by the Mayo Clinic at:

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