Don’t forget to count your island blessings | Column

Howard Schonberger

Howard Schonberger

I know.

It’s tough when it’s freezing and you feel hesitant about going out at night. No need. Just look in your local newspaper.

There’s something to excite every taste in athletic activities, political discussions, book clubs, churches of all kinds, sailing and yacht clubs, golf and tennis clubs, service clubs, art and sculpture shows… and most of all, places to eat. My wife Helen reminded me of this when I felt a bit reluctant going out a week ago.

“Let’s go to the community dinner at the high school,” she suggested. Remembering some good meals in the past there, I immediately agreed.

The Community Dinner’s Greek cuisine was a total dinner-winner!

Where else for a $10 donation, can you get a pre-dinner concert by our high school orchestra followed by a Greek menu, prepared byFriday Harbor high schoolers who are trained to be chefs in our Food for Thought Program. The proceeds of these wonderful evenings go to their culinary training.

About every other year we visit our family in Poughkeepsie and a certain lunch is at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N. Y., where chefs are trained to present wonderful meals for tourists and locals alike. West Point’s dining room and the Culinary Institute are highlightsof our trips to that area.

In Friday Harbor, Executive Chef Andrew Radziolowski is student chef internship monitor and Food Service Supervisor Liz Varvaro is the work-based learning coordinator.

Community dinnerHere’s what they served: chicken gyros – roasted chicken in a soft pita with Tzatzki sauce and romaine lettuce; pork souvlaki – skewers of pork shoulder marinated and grilled; rice pilaf – seasoned rice with fresh herbs, onion and peas; greek salad – cucumber, tomato, Kalamata olive, red onion, banana pepper and feta cheese; Tzatziki – cucumber-yogurt sauce; hummus – traditional dip made with chickpeas, garlic and tahini; baklava – a rich sweet pastry of layered phyllo dough, chopped nuts and honey.

I even bought a box of leftover Baklava… it was as good as I’ve ever eaten since Greg Atkinson left to become nationally famous, and published, since leaving the island (along with his Journal column) some decades ago. The service was sensational. We’ve got lots of greatrestaurants on this island, true, but the high school committee rates near the top on my palate.

Speaking of high school talent, we saw the unique presentation of Stud Terkel’s “Working” on Saturday, and that was no slouch for thetalent of our island youth either. I’m sure Stud would be overjoyed to see how well these youngsters, directed by Jane Maxwell Campbell,performed. They didn’t miss a line.

— Go with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington)