Ruritan diners savor country pie

January 24, 2006|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

Take 125 pounds of flour, 42 dozen eggs, eight chickens, two and a half whole country hams and 20-plus District 12 Ruritan Club members into the kitchen and what will you get?

In this case, it's more than 130 gallons of slippery potpie and hundreds of people stepping up to get some.

District 12 Ruritan member Susie Hoffman spoke from a cloud of flour as she worked noodle dough through a hand roller and passed it down a spirited culinary assembly line.

"It's amazing how people turn out for an old country dinner. I guess they don't want this mess at home," she said.


Hoffman, 51, of Fairplay, referred to the droves of people who stopped Saturday afternoon, Jan. 21, at Tilghmanton Woods Community Center in the Fairplay area for slippery potpie made from scratch. District 12 Ruritan President Greg Culler, 50, of Sharpsburg, said more than 300 people dined at the center while many others stopped by for takeout.

"We don't know exactly how many people we have, including takeout. We count by the gallons," Culler said.

Culler said when the club began having slippery potpie dinners about 10 years ago, they sold about 30 gallons. Now, when 130 gallons have sold, they call it a day.

"We put a 'sorry' sign on the front door - 'sold out,'" Culler said.

Club members said slippery potpie is a traditional country comfort food. The background of the dish is thick, lightly colored broth that draws its flavor from base and cooked-down meat. The potpie's substance is mainly oddly shaped, hand-rolled, cut and floured noodles made "slippery" from the broth. Acting as accents are shreds of meat, pieces of boiled potatoes and sprinkles of parsley flakes.

Nancy Carter, 68, of Boonsboro, said she has been attending Ruritan slippery potpie dinners for years.

"It draws the crowds. I have carryout here besides what I just ate. After church tomorrow, I won't have to cook or go out," Carter said.

Carter convinced her neighbors - Marlene Powell and Powell's daughter, Rachel - to try the dinner.

"I didn't want to try (slippery potpie). It just sounded like something I wouldn't like. My mom said 'Let's go' and I thought, 'Oh man!'" said Rachel Powell, 14, of Boonsboro.

To her surprise, Rachel said, she liked her chicken potpie, and she liked her mother's ham potpie even better.

Phyllis Brusky said she had a similar experience some years ago. Brusky, 74, of Sharpsburg, is a native of New York who had never heard of slippery potpie.

"The name was kind of a turnoff. ... And I was reluctant to try it. Once I got past the name and tasted it, I loved it," Brusky said.

The dish is nothing new to Tony Kline, 53, of Falling Waters, W.Va., who said he has been taking his family to District 12 Ruritan slippery potpie dinners since he first discovered them a couple years ago.

"We all grew up with slippery potpie. You ain't gonna find any better potpie than they make here," Kline said.

District 12 Ruritan Club holds five slippery potpie dinners per year - one per month during October, November, January, February and March. Culler said each event brings in between $1,300 to $1,800, which is used toward maintenance of Old Tilghmanton Woods Community Park, holiday food baskets, monetary donations to people with illnesses, scholarships and other projects.

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