Chinese cuisine added to heritage day celebration

September 14, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

SHARPSBURG - Sharpsburg's heritage celebration has what some people might consider an odd addition this year - a traditional full-course Chinese dinner.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church parishioners have been working to raise money for the International Heifer Project, which helps poor communities, says Crystal Brown, one of the event's organizers.

When Heritage Day plans called for an evening concert at the church, Edie Wallace, a parishioner and president of the Sharpsburg Historical Society, suggested having a fundraising dinner at the church before the concert, Brown says.


St. Paul's recently tried to resurrect its traditional spaghetti dinner, but the turnout was low so Pheny Aldis, a parishioner from Shepherds-town, W.Va., suggested trying something different for the fundraiser.

She offered to cook a full-course Chinese dinner, the type of food she typically cooks at home for her family.

Aldis, 62, who is Indonesian, is preparing recipes she adapted from Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese cookbooks. There is no monosodium glutamate in the dishes, she says.

The meal will consist of corn soup, fried rice, dry-cooked green beans and sweet and sour pork. Dessert will be Aldis' almond floats and almond cookies made by the pastor's wife, Nancy Alfriend.

Tickets cost $7 in advance, $8 at the door and $4 for ages 12 and younger. Proceeds go toward the church's goal to raise $5,000 for the International Heifer Project, Brown says.

The church already has raised more than $1,000, Brown says.

The Heifer Project sends tree seedlings or animals to a poor part of the United States or a Third World country. For example, the project might send a water buffalo to a villager in a poor country and train the villager how to take care of the animal and use it to provide sustenance and business, to drink the buffalo's milk or use the animal to plow fields, Brown says.

When the animal has an offspring, the villager must give the baby to another villager, "passing the gift," Brown says.

Brown and her husband have done this for several years, giving the donation in the name of a friend or family member as a birthday or Christmas gift or in memory of someone.

The church's $5,000 will buy an "ark," Brown says.

An ark consists of two pigs, two camels, two water buffalo, two guinea pigs, two trios of ducks, two flocks of chicks, two oxen, two cows, two trios of rabbits, two donkeys, two beehives, two sheep, two llamas, two flocks of geese and two goats.

The money will pay for the purchase of the animals, transporting them, training the recipients and providing support services.

Sharpsburg Heritage Day also will have Civil War-era music, lectures and food between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in downtown Sharpsburg.

At 7:30 p.m. in the church, there will be a concert of Appalachian and Celtic music with donations going to the historical society.

Brown's husband, Jimmie, will play several instruments - guitar, baroque flute, cello, harmonica and autoharp during the "Dancin' with the Deacon" concert. Some members of St. Paul's choir will sing and Crystal Brown will play piano and dulcimer.

The concert will show the influence early Scottish Celtic music had on the development of American music in the early days of our history, Crystal Brown says.

If you go ...

WHAT: Sharpsburg Heritage Day's traditional full-course Chinese dinner to benefit the International Heifer Project

WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17

WHERE: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 209 W. Main St., Sharpsburg

COST: Dinner tickets are $7 in advance, $8 at the door and $4 for ages 12 and younger. Limited seating. For tickets, call Cindy Weaver at 301-432-5463.

ALSO: There will be free events from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in downtown Sharpsburg, including period music and lectures celebrating Sharpsburg's history and commemorating the 143rd anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.

At 7:30 p.m. at the church there will be an Appalachian and Celtic music concert, with donations going to Sharpsburg Historical Society.

For more information, call 301-432-8765 or go to

Dry Cooked Green Beans

Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes

12 ounces of fresh green beans, cut into 2 1/2-inch sections

2 ounces of ground seasoned pork sausage (she uses Jimmy Dean's)

1 teaspoon rice cooking wine

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 stalks green onions, sliced

3 cups and 1 tablespoon of peanut or canola oil


1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon water

In a heavy pot, heat 3 cups of peanut or canola oil. Fry beans until they are soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove beans and drain on paper towels. Note: Best to fry about a third of the beans at a time.

Stir-fry seasoned sausage in a saut pan with 1 tablespoon of peanut or canola oil until slightly brown. Add the fried beans to the pan with 1 teaspoon rice wine and the sauce mixture. Cook until heated through. Add the green onions and sesame oil.

Serve with rice.

Serves 6.

- Courtesy of Pheny Aldis

Sweet and Sour Pork

2/3 pound pork loin cut in 1-inch cubes

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