Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Oak Creek No one should go hungry in Oak Creek today. Thanksgiving turkeys are cooking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building, Oak Creek Community Center and Mayor Cargo Rodeman's house, and all the homemade food is free to anyone who wants some.
The VFW opens at 10 a.m., but the dinner, sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary, doesn't start until 2 p.m. The community center serves from noon until 4 p.m. Rodeman's turkey goes in the oven at 2 a.m. and she stops cooking at noon, just in time for football. The only rule is "eat when you're hungry."
Rodeman started her traditional feed-for-all 30 years ago.
"On Thanksgiving there are a lot of single people who don't have families, and it just became this thing that I would see someone on the street and if they weren't doing anything for Thanksgiving, they could come to my house," she said.
Over the years, Rodeman has served anywhere from 15 to 40 people.
"There is always more than enough," she said. Rodeman begins baking on Wednesday, because "the tradition is that everyone gets their own pie. Not just a piece," she said. She makes enough pies for as many guests and she thinks might come and then bakes a few extra for the VFW dinner, she said.
All the pies are made from scratch from her grandmother's recipe.
This year's menu, she said, is turkey, sage stuffing and cornbread stuffing, ham, prime rib with mushroom and horseradish sauce and "the most killer green bean casserole."
"I also make about 10 pounds of mashed potatoes, because I used to have a grazing herd of teen-agers," she said.
If you're in Oak Creek, the VFW is located on Main Street, the community center is in the same building as the Oak Creek Public Library, and if you don't know where Rodeman's house is, just ask someone.
"I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't be welcome," she said.