Sunday Dinner for JoePa: A Memorial Through Food

Joe Paterno was an ordinary man with common sense values who made Penn State a great university, which made him an extraordinary man, and, he will be remembered as such. I wonder how ordinary we all would be without having had him in our Penn State world? For some reason, when I woke up on Sunday without him, I felt like an extraordinary Penn Stater (because of him), living in an ordinary college town. Somehow, for now, without him: "I am... just Penn State".

I don't know life in State College without JoePa, so this is going to take some time getting used to. Over the past 35 years, I've run into him in the grocery store, the State store (where we buy booze here in Happy Valley), and, because of my scheduled/reserved court times at The Penn State Tennis Center, about three times a week in the parking lot of the sports complex.

"How ya doin' today?", he'd ask.

"Great Coach.", I'd reply.

"Have a great game today." (It's referred to as a "match" in tennis, but he never called it that.)

"You too Coach". That was that, but it sure did make my day!

Sunday morning, I cried until I thought my eyes were going to bleed (blue and white of course). When I pulled myself together, I decided to do something that would have meaning and purpose. JoePa would want us all to do that. Since I head for the kitchen in all times of anguish or distress, I decided to cook Sunday Dinner for JoePa:

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Brooklyn-Style Manicotti with Mel's Meatballs & Sunday "Gravy"

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My manicotti recipe, made using Italian crespelle (crepes), was given to me over thirty-years ago by a co-worker's mother, an Italian-American woman hailing from Brooklyn. Knowing this is where JoePa grew up, it jumped into my mind almost immediately. If I could prepare dinner for him in person, I think he'd like this one a lot.

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My day yesterday did have meaning and purpose. It was kitchen therapy, almost spiritual... not to mention my kitchen smelled divine and heavenly! By the end of the evening, I was back to work and posted my manicotti and sauce recipe on Kitchen Encounters. Tonight and tomorrow, I shall work on and post my recipe for meatballs. Before signing off, over the past few months, I want you folks and friends at BSD that you have been like family... like one big, giant, loud-mouthed, opinionated, Italian family!

Rest in peace JoePa,
For the Glory,
Mel.

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Ed. A sincere heartfelt thanks to Mel (known 'round these parts as "jessedotsmom") for suggesting this yesterday. Everyone in America is writing an article or a post of some kind about Joe, but one thing seemed to be missing. The man sure loved his Italian food, and Mel is spot on with her recipe. Mending sadness through food is always a good idea, and if we can all stop and share a bite (or drink) for Joe this evening, the world will be a better place.

If you're not familiar with Mel, you need to make your way over to Kitchen Encouters ASAP. An in-depth version of this exact post appeared there first, along with hundreds of additional delicious recipes.

Legal mumbo jumbo: All content, including pictures, copyright Kitchen Encounters and reprinted with express permission.

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