An uninformed person hearing the words “St. Catherine’s dinner”, a guild that is part of the Episcopal Cathedral, or “a church ladies’ group”,  one could visualize Saturday night live’s Church Lady in which Dana Carvey ‘s  old lady character yells at everyone. Well, that’s not who St. C’s is!

It is a core group of about sixty women, of  whom thirty regularly attend.  It’s wonderful leader, Jennifer,  has organized for five years.  She coordinates who brings what and amazing home cooked foods appear.  Every month, you’ll find a room full of dynamic, interesting, successful women who celebrate new friends, old friends, and openly talk about whatever life changing challenges or successes are taking place, without hesitation.

As forkfuls of nourishing foods are consumed and glasses of wine are savored,  effortless, spontaneous, intimate conversation ensues around  each table.  Food is at its center.   The dinner is blessed, celebrated, and enjoyed.  From standing in the kitchen eating appetizers while watching others heat up their dishes to sitting down to share the meal, food is what brings everyone together.  There is nothing like ladies’ night out to get nourishment in more ways than one.

Since we break for the summer, our last dinner in May is always coed.  While we don’t get to delve into our intimate conversations  we usually do, we celebrate our foods together with our husbands or boyfriends.  It is truly another level of celebration!

I’m enclosing my tried and true recipe for Ratatouille.  It is a wonderful, colorful side dish.   Four of the couples brought meat dishes of chicken, beef, and a pork tenderloin.  Ratatouille has enough flavor to stand up to heavier meats as well as chicken or fish.  I’ve had several people want this recipe, so here it is: