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‘If we meet, we eat’

By Staff | Feb 3, 2017

MEMBERS OF LAKE CITY’S Shakespeare Club met in December 2016 at Jan McClue’s home near Lanesboro and served an array of homemade food. The group includes, from left, Sharon Richardson, Jan McClue, Jan Dougherty, Pam Feld, Suzy Peterson and Pat Albright..




LAKE CITY – While one of Lake City’s oldest clubs likely wouldn’t have had any farm women for members when the group formed the 1890s, a farm wife is now the club’s president and has belonged to the group longer than any other member.

“This was originally a very formal club where the ladies in town served white-tablecloth-style dinners and used their good china and silverware,” said Jan Dougherty, of Lake City, president, who joined the Shakespeare Club in 1972. “Now we’re much more relaxed and just like to have fun.”

THIS SIMPLE slush from Jan McClue, a Shakespeare Club member who lives on a farm near Lanesboro, makes any party more festive.

Part of the fun involves cooking classes, preparing homemade treats for the lunch following the meeting and sharing recipes. The group has visited Sweet Things Bakery, in Lake City, and recently enjoyed a cooking class taught by Robin Qualy, of Lake City, who runs La Casa Cuisine and teaches people how to make homemade pasta.

“I like the camaraderie and enjoy getting to know people better through Shakespeare Club,” said Pam Feld, of Lake City, who joined the group a few years ago.

Organized in 1894, the Shakespeare Club holds the honor of being the second oldest club in Lake City. It was organized by four young women interested in their social and intellectual advancement. Programs were arranged to study the lives and works of famous authors, although the greater part of each year was devoted to the works of Shakespeare.

Later, the programs were diversified to include the study of music and the arts, as well as the cultures of Europe and South America.

During World War I, Shakespeare Club members held benefit teas and auctions to raise money for the American Red Cross. In the 1920s, a three-day celebration was held to commemorate the club’s silver anniversary. Parties, picnics and a presentation of a picture to the library were part of the festivities.

SMOKY BACON combines with tender cheese tortellini for a creamy, comforting take on the usual corn chowder, which was served during the Shakespeare Club’s 2016 Christmas party.

“The Shakespeare Club is famous for doing things right,” quoted the Lake City Graphic newspaper in 1923.

Through the years, club members have been instrumental in supporting the progress of schools and the local library, as well as civic improvements. As it has for years, the group continues to meet in members’ homes, and each meeting includes a program or special activity and ends with a luncheon.

“I like meeting in people’s homes,” said Pat Albright, of Lake City. “It’s a comfortable feeling where we can be ourselves and enjoy each other’s company.”

This also appeals to Jan McClue, who hosted the group’s 2016 Christmas party at her home near Lanesboro.

“I like that we’re a group for fun, and I enjoy the interesting outings we go on around the area.”

THIS TASTY dip from Jan McClue is simple to make and can be served with bagel wedges or crackers.

One of the group’s favorite destinations is Studio Fusion, in Fort Dodge, where members design their own glass picture frames, dishes and jewelry. No matter where they meet, however, snacks and homemade treats are always on the agenda.

“Good food has always been part of Shakespeare Club, and I think it’s neat the club has lasted all these years,” Dougherty said. “Our motto could be, ‘We don’t meet if we don’t eat.'”

Healthy tortellini

The author, a club member, served this dish during the organization’s 2016 Christmas party.

5 slices bacon

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 cup red, orange, yellow peppers, diced

2 cups fresh, canned or frozen corn kernels (about one and a half cans of canned corn)

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup sliced carrots

1/3 cup unbleached or all-purpose flour or Wondra flour

3 cups 1 percent milk

13 cup chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

8 ounces low-fat fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, cooked and drained

1 cup frozen green beans

1 to 2 cups diced ham, optional

Set a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon. Cook for 1 minute, or until it releases some of its moisture.

Add the onion, celery, and bell peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the corn, broth and carrots. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Place the flour in a medium bowl. Gradually add the milk, whisking until smooth. Pour mixture into the Dutch oven.

Stir until well-blended. Add the basil, salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until the soup thickens.

Add the tortellini, green beans and ham, if desired.

Cook for 2 minutes, or until heated through.

Dill beef dip

This tasty dip from Jan McClue is simple to make and can be served with bagel wedges or crackers.

1 16-ounce carton sour cream

2 tablespoons parsley

2 teaspoons seasoning salt

2 packages dried beef, chopped

1 1/2 cup salad dressing

2 teaspoons dill weed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together.

Serve with crackers or bagel wedges.

Cheesy artichoke dip

This three-ingredient appetizer from Jan Dougherty, of Lake City, takes only minutes to make.

1 package cream cheese

1 can artichoke hearts, drained

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine all ingredients.

Bake at 350 degrees, or until top of the dip lightly browns.

Celebration slush

This simple slush from Jan McClue, a Shakespeare Club member who lives on a farm near Lanesboro, makes any party more festive.

12 ounces frozen lemonade

12 ounces frozen limeade

1 1/2 quarts cranberry-apple juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups strawberry schnapps

2 cups water

Combine all ingredients and freeze in a plastic container, like an ice cream bucket.

To serve, add a splash of lemon-lime soda pop, raspberry vodka or strawberry daiquiri.

Taco soup

This flavorful soup from Marie Schwarm, of Lake City, is sure to please on a cold winter day.

1 pound of ground beef (cooked and drained)

1 can of corn

1 can great northern beans

1 can black beans

1 can red beans

1 medium size can of diced tomatoes

1 packet of Hidden Valley dressing mix

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 cup of water

Tortilla chips

Sour cream

Shredded cheese

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker (do not drain the beans) except tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with chips, sour cream and cheese. To spice up the soup, add a small can of diced green peppers.

Chili bean salad

This fresh, healthy recipe comes from Sharon Richardson, of Lake City.

1 15-ounce can chili beans, heated

Chopped tomatoes

Fresh spinach or lettuce, chopped

Corn chips

Make a bed of fresh spinach or chopped lettuce on plate.

Top with chopped tomatoes and chili beans that have been heated.

Top with crushed corn chips.

Peanut butter dessert

This creamy, sweet peanut butter dessert from Shakespeare Club member Pam Feld, of Lake City, offers an enticing ending for any meal.

For the crust:

1 cup finely-chopped cashews

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter

Cream cashews, flour and butter together. Press mixture into baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 28 minutes.

First layer of filling:

8 ounces cream cheese

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup whipped cream topping

Combine cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar and whipped cream topping. Spread over cooled crust.

Second layer of filling:

2 2/3 cups milk

1 package chocolate instant pudding

1 package vanilla instant pudding

Combine milk and the two pudding mixes. Chill in refrigerator.

When set, layer mixture on top of peanut butter layer.

Top dessert with whipped cream topping and pieces of chopped candy bars. Butterfinger and Heath work well.

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