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Side Dishes: German Gospel brunch in Middlesex; so long, Lois the Hot Dog Lady

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As of last Sunday, foodies have another reason to head to Middlesex’s Camp Meade. Mother’s Day saw the kickoff of Gospel Brunch, an event held at Nutty Steph’s Granola & Chocolate Factory and its neighbor at 961 Route 2, Red Hen Bakery & Café.

Nutty Steph owner Jaquelyn Rieke says she added the weekly brunch as a response to the overwhelming popularity of Bacon Thursdays, where she serves booze, flights of bacon and chocolate for dipping. She calls Gospel Brunch “a drinking event” modeled on the Otis-Redding-and-Al-Green-fueled morning meals of her college days. But there’s more to it than a range of mimosas with fresh slices of organic citrus fruit.

The fare is based on what Rieke calls “the perfect meal,” a traditional spread of cold meats, cheeses, fruit and condiments that she discovered when she visited Germany as a teenager. With buffet tables set up both at Nutty Steph’s and at Red Hen, bread is also a highlight; rustic rolls and loaves are baked fresh for the occasion. The whole spread costs $10, plus booze.

The food-centered event may seem pretty secular, but there’s still praising aplenty. In a nod to Rieke’s college years, Messrs. Redding and Green and “old, old-school” gospel artists will be playing in both locations — on a tape deck, of course.

*****

Speaking of old school, an era ended last Friday when Lois Bodoky, Church Street’s famous Hot Dog Lady, served her final franks in Vermont at the Starr Farm Nursing Center. Bouffant and cat-eye sunglasses firmly in place, Bodoky remained seated due to a recently broken hip, but she held court with fans who turned out for the $3 meal of hot dogs donated by McKenzie Country Classics, chips, soda and a Costco cookie. The event benefited the Church Street Marketplace.

Bodoky, who turns 90 on the Fourth of July, gave thanks to the Marketplace for their help in making her a success. She also sang the praises of McKenzie’s dogs, which she sold from 1977 to 2005. “I always used them because they were the best on the market — nice and fat and juicy,” she said.

This week, Bodoky will move to Santa Cruz, Calif., to be closer to her family. “My motto is to put one foot in front of the other and don’t go backward,” she said.

Lois Bodoky and Bill McKenzie
  • Lois Bodoky and Bill McKenzie

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