Sunday, December 18, 2011

Feast fit for a governor, Egyptian-style, 61 years ago tonight

While researching the story of a young Herrin woman dating a member of the Shelton Gang back in 1920s, I came across this story of a feast prepared by her boss, Nick Tudoff, some 14 years later for Illinois' governor.

The woman in question had been shot during a robbery of Tudoff's restaurant and the neighboring confectionery where she worked as a waitress. Interestingly, her suitor had been shot and killed the night before east of Herrin.

The Daily Independent of Murphysboro carried the following story on Dec. 19, 1940, about an Egyptian feast prepared for Gov. John Stelle, who was from Southern Illinois and was later buried at McLeansboro.

It's late as I write this. I'm full, but still my stomach's growing with anticipation.

Murphysboro and Herrin Men Carry Foods to Governor

Stelle in Role of "Pharoah" Receives From Egypt Rich Morsels and Red Wine

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Dec. 19 -- (UP) -- Gov. John H. Stelle played the role of "Pharaoh" last night when a delegation of legionnaire friends appeared at the executive mansion bearing baskets laden with food from the "Little Egypt" area of Southern Illinois.

The food, it was said, consisted of the Governor's favorite dishes. Main course was Italian ravioli cooked in broth made from the "fat of the lamb of Egypt" and served with a sauce seasoned with "spices grown down Egypt way."

Other dishes included thick bacon rolled in corn meal, Italian garlic sausage, Italian peppers seasoned in wine vinegar, Egyptian corn crust bread, Egyptian peaches and red wine.

Supervising the final preparation of the food was Chef Nick Tudoff of Herrin. Others present included:

Loren Margrave, Tom Shannon, John Bandino, Harry Calcertino [probably Calcaterra], Frank Felts, Harvey Yuill, Harry Pollock, W. D. Toll, C. V. Walker, Paul Harris, and James Bailey, all of Herrin; and Ray Hubbs and Gordon Franklin of Murphysboro.

Some time ago the Herrin-Murphysboro boys asked if they could expect "Governor John," Illinois' first Legionnaire governor, to take time out for a feed on genuine Italian ravioli, pork in a corn meal jacket, pickled peppers, salad, meat, and the wine that is read in "Little Egypt,"-- meaning the wine of the grape as the American boys with forebears in sunny Italy know how to make it.

"John" said: "Come arunning," and the delegation left by car Wednesday afternoon with provisions in great hampers dispatched ahead of them.

The state's "First Lady" promised to look in on the party last night.

Governor Stelle has many Legionnaire and other friends down south in Illinois.

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