Common Eating Community

Lunchroom @ Holy Trinity – Pancake Day

Last July, I wrote about starting my new position at Holy Trinity Anglican Church. It`s been a long and difficult road to getting things up and running. At the end of last year we decided we would start The Lunchroom @ Holy Trinity. This is a one day a week simple sit down lunch. 

Lunchroom bowl of soup
A bowl of meatball soup, typical of The Lunchroom meals.

Getting The Lunchroom off the Ground

Oven to Table Frittata Recipe
Oven to Table Frittata Recipe

The first couple of weeks for The Lunchroom were quite quiet. Both weeks we had more helpers than we had guests. We are quickly discovering that it takes time to get the word out. However, over the last few weeks, people seem to be hearing about what is happening. Yet, as we move towards being up and running for two full months those numbers continue to grow steadily.

Pancakes on the griddle in advance of our Shrove Tuesday lunch.

More important than the number of people showing up, is that people are gradually starting to become more comfortable and stay. Our hope for our lunches is that they will be a place for feeding of relationships as much as for feeding of bodies. 

In order to try and help this along, we are going with simple, one pot, dishes. We generally add some bread to go with whatever soup or stew we are serving. By doing this we need fewer helpers in the kitchen, and hopefully helpers can then spend more time interacting with the guests who come through the doors. 

My role so far is managing, and as the main cook. I usually arrive quite early on Tuesdays, to get things started in the kitchen. The most recent meal I prepared, prior to today’s pancakes, is a meatball soup.

Lunchroom meatball sup
We are fortunate to have enough oven space to accommodate four roasters this size.

You may notice that there are no pictures of people in this post. That is because privacy and relationships matter more than promotion. Beyond providing warm food during a cold winter we are trying to provide a safe place. Many people think the poor and dispossessed are the people making downtown Winnipeg in safe. More often they are the people whose safety is at risk. 

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Lunch

Offering lunches on Tuesdays means that every year, The Lunchroom will coincide with Shrove Tuesday, also known as pancake day. This means a bit of a break from our routine. Rather than having a meal cooked and ready to go when we open, we are cooking starting around 10:30, and going through until we close at 1 pm.

A test plate of pancakes and sausages I made early in the morning.

The sausages started cooking early. I am always surprised how long it takes to cook sausages for a pancake lunch. We also were operating a couple of electric griddles as we went along.

I wrote, a few months ago, about winning an electric grill while at a lobster dinner fall supper. This morning was the first time that I had actually taken it for a test cook. As you can see from the picture above, it did a pretty good job of turning out a plate of pancakes and sausages.

We had a real good turn out today. We were even visited by several members of the Winnipeg Police Auxiliary Cadets. In addition to greeting people and doing some visiting with guests, they took a bunch of our cards to help get out the news that we are open and hoping to welcome even more guests in the future.

So far, our approach is pretty low-key. We are hoping to be open a second day during the week as we approach the summer season. One of the things we wish to do is to offer something outdoors. We have a nice lawn in front of the church which is potentially a good gathering space for the wider community. 

That’s a brief update on what I am up to at Holy Trinity these days. I hope to be able to post more in the future. If you live in Winnipeg, feel free to drop by any Tuesday. We want to share food and friendship with everybody.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.