Providence prepares secret recipe

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Almost four decades ago, Chesley Powell had an idea for the upcoming bazaar at what is now Providence United Methodist Church.

Powell, along with his daughter Doris, decided to make sausage to sell, using his own secret recipe.

“He just came up with the idea,” said Bobbie Cowan, co-chair for this year’s fall bazaar.

“For years and years, it was like his secret,” said Sue Turner, a fellow co-chair. “It was like he had his own special seasoning that he wouldn’t tell anyone.”

For years, Powell kept his recipe a secret, and he would mass-produce his sausage for the church’s annual bazaar. Eventually, though, the time came to pass on the tradition to a new family in the church.

“Before he died, he told the Pierce family his recipe, and it has been passed on,” Cowan said. From there, the recipe was handed down to three more families before becoming a tradition each year for the men of the church to take on.

Originally, Powell would make about 25 pounds.

Today, the men of the church make about 490 pounds to sell each year.

For this year’s bazaar, church volunteers will drive to Smithfield Foods Friday afternoon and pick up the pork.

“You don’t want it fat, but you don’t want it too lean or it sticks to the pan,” Turner explained.

From there, the men cut up the meat, season it, grind and package it right in the church to be ready Saturday morning.

“You can’t get it much fresher,” Turner said.

The meat will sell for about $3 to $3.50 a pound, depending on how much it costs on Friday, and all of the proceeds will go to the church’s mission funds.

“It’s a great fundraiser,” Cowan said. “I just think it’s unique that our church makes our own sausage and seasons it.”

While the men of the church tackle the meat, the women are equally busy.

Each year the women make a homemade vegetable beef soup for lunch. This year, the women will break new ground by making about 50 pounds of chicken salad to sell, as well.

Additionally, church members will supply the necessary food and crafts for a sweets and bake shop on the grounds, a handcraft tent and an “outdoor and more” section, designated for gardeners and home decorators.

All in all, it takes about 100 volunteers to put on the bazaar each year, and about 300 people are expected to stop by to shop and eat.

“Even though it’s a lot of work, it’s such a fun day,” Turner said.

The bazaar will be held this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone who wants to purchase the sausage can do so throughout the day. For more information, call Bobbie Cowan at 539-9444 or Sue Turner at 539-2820.