April 12, 2009, - 2:47 pm

Happy Easter?: State of Pennsylvania Plays Grinch on Catholic Church Pies

By Debbie Schlussel
You’ll remember my post, back in December, about how California’s Shasta County cavalierly shut down 86-year-old disabled World War II veteran Jack Melton and his modest fruitcake business, meant to supplement a very modest income.
Now the grinch that stole Christmas is stealing Easter–or at least Lent preceding it, and for the same absurd reasons.
While many of my Christian readers are out celebrating Easter, the Pennsylvania big government grinch made it a little tougher for some of that State’s religious Catholics to sell home-made pies in the period leading up to the holiday.

On the first Friday of Lent, an elderly female parishioner of St. Cecilia Catholic Church began unwrapping pies at the church. That’s when the trouble started.


St. Cecilia Catholic Church’s Pie Bakers Fight Big Govt.

A state inspector, there for an annual checkup on the church’s kitchen, spied the desserts. After it was determined that the pies were home-baked, the inspector decreed they couldn’t be sold.
“Everyone was devastated,” says Josie Reed, a 69-year-old former teacher known for her pumpkin and berry pies.
Sold for $1 a slice, homemade pies have always been part of the Lenten fish-fry dinners at St. Cecilia’s, located in this tiny city near Pittsburgh. Similar dinners are held in church basements and other venues across the country this time of year.
After a state crackdown forbidding the sale of homemade pies, members of St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Rochester, Pa., proceeded with their annual Lenten fish fries anyway. The pie flap helped draw healthy crowds.
The problem is the pies are illegal in Pennsylvania. Under the state’s food-safety code, facilities that provide food at four or more events in a year require at least a temporary eating and drinking license, and food has to be prepared in a state-inspected kitchen. Many churches have six fish fries a year, on Fridays during Lent. St. Cecilia’s has always complied with having its kitchen licensed, so food made there is fine to serve. But homemade goods don’t make the cut. . . .
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture declined to make the inspector available for comment.

As I said when I wrote about Jack Melton’s fruitcakes, the fact remains that many “licensed” kitchens are not even a fraction as clean as those of many homes. The whole thing is a bunch of bunk. The nanny state worrying about pies, you know, for your own good. Bah, Humbug. (Not sure what the Easter equivalent for Humbug is or whether there is one.)
St. Cecilia Catholic Church today, my synagogue tomorrow. (Someone else’s mosque . . . never–they don’t enforce the rules on Muslims the way they do on everyone else).
We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you.

7 Responses

Are they freaking kidding me? What church hasen’t had homemade goodies at some point? Do people usually get sick from them? Sheesh

mindy1 on April 12, 2009 at 8:41 pm

When pies are outlawed, only outlaws will have pies.

NormanF on April 12, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Norman, that is so funny. I live in PA and was going to buy a deli years ago. There was a stainless steel table in the back room. The owner of the deli told me he rented the table space to a man who had a homemade cookie business, but needed to rent the space to pretend to the Dept of Agr. and Board of Health that he had a ‘real’ NSF approved place of business.

carnation on April 12, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Growing up in Spring Lake, North Carolina, attending fellowship suppers at Spring Lake Methodist Church was a regular event.
But, being a boy, I’d eat so much, Mama would be embarrassed.
So, she always fed me a big meal at home before we went to church.
But, it didn’t work.
I still embarrassed her with my appetite!
I remember reading a daily comic strip, “DAVID CRANE”, in the local “FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER” newspaper.
“DAVID CRANE” was a Protestant church minister.
In the comic strip, they also had church suppers, and one of the members was always bragging about her Boston cream pie.
Well, the folks who ate her Boston cream pie all got food poisoning, and she felt so ashamed, she quit going to church, until Reverend Crane convinced her that she was forgiven and still welcome.
At the time, I’d never eaten Boston cream pie, but today, it’s one of my favorite desserts!
Does anyone else remember the “DAVID CRANE” newspaper comic strip?
That was when I was a boy, so it was a long time ago.
I’ve never gotten sick after eating at a church supper, and I don’t know of anyone else who’s ever gotten sick after eating at a church supper.
I reckon it could happen, but I never heard about any such thing as that.
Thank you.
John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

writesong on April 12, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Here’s some URLs for web sites which offer examples and an explanation of the newspaper comic strip, “DAVID CRANE”, I mentioned in my earlier post.
Oh, how our Country has changed!
Thank you.
John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

writesong on April 13, 2009 at 2:45 am

JUst incredible in how the states and federal governments have a propensity to stick their noses in places they shouldn’t. Just because they feel they (govt.) know what’s best for us, per what Debbie said. I would like to share something special with all, which is dear to me.
Back on July 2008, my 12 year old niece was told she has stage 4 cancer. This cancer is prevelent in young teenagers and attacks muscle and soft tissue. The day after Thanksgiving she was hospitalize and didn’t get out till April 2009. As well as had major surgery. She’s in remission now…thank G-d. On Sunday, all the family gathered at my brother’s (his daughter has the illness) house for dinner. It was a beautiful day and sort of surreal for us. As my nieces Mom returned from returning some movies. She saw in the driveway her husband and my other brother building a flat bed trailer for their riding mower or for transferring our motorcycles. Me and my other brother were playing basketball in the driveway with the kids. And it seems like a normal family gatherring. Even my niece Angelie was outside cheering for her brother and sister to beat me and my daughter in the basketball game. Then the men began to BBQ and the woman prepare the rest of the meal, while the kids (many kids there) were complaining when is dinner. I sat there smoking my cigar (not a normal thing I do) enjoying the wilderness in the backyard while some of the kids were riding the ATV’s in the backyard. Suddenly, tears of happiness came to my eyes. Because everything was so normal for us. I quietly said to G-d “Thank you.” Just watching everyone laughing, being silly and enjoying themselves was a great feeling. This was one of the best days of my life since my niece was told of this horrible news. But then I realized that all our praying paid off. And that the power of praying is such a strong thing that cannot be so easily dismissed. Too many people go through the motions but is it truly heart felt?
I come from a large and very close family. And I was the last to relocate to Tennessee, because I had to wait for my promotion to come through. I could have easily gone somewhere else…sooner. But, I wanted to be near my family. Because family is all we have and the most important. Family will be there when times are hard. I was especially eladed since all this occurred during the Passover holiday. And it made this holiday extra special than any other Passover.
When we all decided to move to Tennessee. We thought it was best to reside in the country side and it would be well worth the commute to Nashville which takes us about 1 hr and 10 mins to get there. But well worth that long commute and it’s a nice sencery when you drive it. And traffic gets bad once you begin to enter the Nashville area. We thought the quality of life for the kids and us would be better in the country. Opposed to the city and surburbs. Where we live. Kids can ride their bicycles or ATV’s without the fear of them being abducted. It’s a close nit community, in which everyone pretty much knows one another. And looks out for eachother. I supposed what I’m trying to emphasize here, is that the power pray and that hope we all have will be answered if we’re just sincere about it. And now we have a government who currently wants to take away our rights little by little. Which means our happiness will go down the tubes too if the government has its way.
We all need to be thankful for what we have. At the sametime we need to be diligent in our resolve and not allow the government take away what our G-d given rights are. G-d provided us with free will and happiness. And I will fight anyone or any organization that wants to take that away from me and family, as well as anyone else. Too many people aren’t greatful or appreciate what American represents. And now people are allowing Obama to just throw it all away to appease muslims and special interest groups. We need to fight for what is ours. Because America is for the people and more importantly by the people. I know I’m not willing to give this up without a fight. And neither should any other American give in to appeasement and remain in denial. G-d Bless you all. And a Happy Passover and Happy Easter to you all. And don’t forget what these holidays really represent to our respective religions. Many just see these holidays as time off from work/school. And are losing the true meaning of what the holidays represent. Again Debbie, sorry I went off topic.
Debbie, I sincerely apologize for going off the topic here. But, with how the world and the direction of our government taking. I wanted to share this with you and your readers. Since this can all go away for me and all good Americans. If we allow Obama and his fools have their way.

Tenn Scholar on April 13, 2009 at 9:29 am

In fact the whole kitchen staff at St Cecilia’s
looks cleaner than most professional restaurants.
The government should fix the salmonella problems in “nut” shops and check for clean produce that’s
shipped to us.
I hope St. Cecilia’s has started something bigger and better than they’ve ever done before. They should take away some business on Fridays in Lent from the chain restaurants in the area. Better yet…every restaurant in the area.

sauce on April 13, 2009 at 10:24 am

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