Table Talks with Les Dames: Celebrating Women’s Achievements

Elevated Irish: Celebrating St Patrick’s Day the St. Louis Way ST. LOUIS CHAPTER

By Alyse K. Scaglione

Martha Kemper and Whitney Linsenmeyer kicked off our March 9 event with some helpful Zoom etiquette followed by a magnificent lecture on the Irish presence and celebrations in St. Louis. We rolled into our filmed demonstrations; chef/owner Grace Dinsmoor of Chela Tapas prepared Colcannon Croquettes a-Smiling, basic potato croquettes elevated with the addition of brussels sprouts and a whole grain mustard sauce. Fran Caradonna, CEO of local St Louis Brewery-Schlafly Beer gave a brief look at one of her favorite golden beers, Schlafly Kolsch. Next was Darla Crask, owner of Ices Plain & Fancy, with her unforgettable “Freakshake” milkshake take on Irish coffee utilizing Five Farms Irish Cream, Jameson Irish whiskey, local Ronnoco coffee, and festive toppings.

Alyse Scaglione, pastry chef at Meadowbrook Country Club, was last with an Irish American adaptation of classic soda bread featuring an enriched dough with apples, golden raisins, and caraway seeds. After the demonstrations, Darla and Alyse fielded questions giving further insight on flour substitutions, how to make coffee concentrations (or cold brew toddy), our unexpected parallel paths into the world of desserts, working with mistakes, and how to obtain Darla’s amazing nitrogen ice cream specialties.

The first twentyfive local registrants received goodie bags filled with items from our sponsons: a mini loaf of Chef Alyse’s Irish American Soda Bread, Ronnoco house blend coffee, Schlafly’s Kolsch and Oatmeal Stout beers, Five Farms Irish Cream from Lohr Distributing, WellBeing Brewery’s Coffee Cream Non-Alcoholic Stout, personal protective equipment from Larson’s Medical Supply, and eco-friendly, disposable serveware and coupon code from Natural Tableware.

One hundred percent of our registrants’ contributions go to our chapter’s grant, scholarship, and philanthropic efforts. We look forward to in-person events again; in the meantime, this platform is the perfect way to keep our community connected. “Ag guí sláinte agus sonais ort” (“wishing you health and happiness” in Irish) from the St. Louis Chapter.

Dames Dietitians Take the Lead


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

Connie Diekman’s career has been diverse, starting as a registered dietitian in a research study, then providing nutrition consults to businesses, government agencies, fitness facilities, and ultimately, to the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. While at the university, she worked with the dining team to provide a menu that offered enjoyable, better-for-you options, and she provided consults to the athletes and to students through student health in her capacity as a specialist in sports dietetics.

She notes that until she moved through her career, she never realized how well the broad curriculum in dietetics prepared her for various positions. Obviously, it included the pure sciences of biology, physiology, organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry and applied sciences, but also management of teams and classes in behavior change and psychology. The later, she believes gave her the skills needed to provide leadership, to change concepts, and offer support to organizations. Connie asserts that the skills learned may have been food and nutrition focused but the skills easily translate to business, industry, and even community organizations. These acquired skills enhanced what she was able to contribute to the St. Louis and Missouri Heart Associations, her children’s high schools, her high school and college alum associations, and the St. Louis LDEI Chapter. She identifies that registered dietitians have a strong grounding in behavior change, people skills, and management—skills that enhance all those with whom they interact.

One of Connie’s greatest rewards was her election to the presidency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly known as the American Dietetic Association. In that position, she had the opportunity and joy of representing her colleagues in dealing with external organizations, government agencies, all of the 50 state Academies and their members, specialized affiliates and sub-groups within the national organization. Connie explains, “My presidency further enhanced my skills to hear and process member concerns, to lead, motivate, and engage with the board to ensure that the strategic plan reflected the direction the organization needed to go and how the organization needed to position for success. I also learned patience.” Connie wisely says that we all know that the world changes slowly, and so do organizations.

However, she characterizes such periods as an opportunity to develop tolerance—for good change requires planning, perseverance, and support.

Virtual Connections

As we will not be connecting in person for the foreseeable future, we are working on and implementing alternative ways to stay in touch. We miss nothing more than our programs and get-togeth­ers! Our chapter connects with monthly Zoom "Dames Who Drink" happy hours, and our Dames "Food Lit" Book Group is meeting more frequently. Virtual education programs are now on our calendars as well. Alyse Scaglione, Pastry Chef at Meadow­brook Country Club, conducted an informative and enjoyable Zoom Macaron Master Class from the Club kitchen. Liz Engelsmann shared with us her knowledge with an at-home tasting of rose wines distributed by her company, Pinnacle Imports. In September, we held our virtual new Dames induction and Global Culinary Initiative dinner via Zoom.

Macaroon Master Class

On July 28, Alyse Scaglione hosted a Zoom "Macaron Master Class" for her St Louis Chapter accompanied by her assistant, Heather Barrett.

The word "macaron" comes from the Italian word, maccherone ("fine dough"). It's thought that the maca­ron cookie originated in Italy and was brought to France as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici, a noblewoman from Florence who married the future King of France, Henri II.

In demonstrating this European cookie, Alyse focused on expanding creativity, and she gave professional insider tips and tricks for perfecting technique and applicative use of these ubiquitous little delights.

"We 'hosted' the meeting in our Meadow­brook Country Club kitchen in Ballwin, Missouri. I quickly ran through the process of making, piping, and filling a house-favor­ite flavor combination of raspberry, rosewa­ter, and Callebaut Ruby Chocolate macarons followed by a Q&A segment covering how to get beautiful and uniform macarons and ways to expand uses."

Alyse recommended filling ideas that ex­tended beyond the usual jam or buttercream (i.e. Bavarian creams, ganaches, seasonal fruit curds, and German Chocolate custard). She discussed the underutilized savory application. Alyse presented two techniques. The first showed a larger, piped macaron shell used in lieu of a cros­tini as a classic summer canape of bacon, tomato, and mozzarella. The second displayed shells dusted with Herbs de Provence and filled with goat cheese mousse.

"Finally, we presented how macarons can add a beautiful finishing touch to decorated cakes," said Alyse. "We had a lovely web­based evening that let us gather, explore food, and share one another's expertise. I am a first-year Dame, and while this year has had a different environment, I could not be more excited for our future or anymore incredibly proud to call myself a St. Louis Dame!"

Above: Pastry Chef Alyse Scaglione. Savory maca­rons. Callebaut Ruby Chocolate macarons. Below: Alyse sprinkling herbs on savory macacons. Using macarons to decorate cakes. Macaro crostini.

LDEI Fontbonne University Scholarship Program

On September 23, 2020, St. Louis inducted two dynamic new members into our chapter. In addition, we also introduced the first recipient of our Fontbonne University Marching Scholarship Program. While different from our previous inductions as this was a Zoom meeting, we did offer optional gourmet take-out from a Dames-owned catering business. And to add a little education to the evening, Beth Heidrich and Moira Ross presented a lively account on how they are changing the green frontier through Beth's new venture, KindBio. Beth and her husband Kurt were recently awarded licenses to cultivate medical marijuana, as well as manufactured both edibles and oils. The St. Louis Green "fables Committee launched a new fundraiser, "Local Flavors in a Bag.'' on Friday, October 23. This event was designed to promote local Missouri and Illinois farmers by featuring seasonal ingredients in a gourmet meal kit for two. All proceeds go to supporting student scholarships, and community outreach grants. The Bag included salad. bread, and the ingredients for a main course (Pasta con Broccoli with Chicken) and a de sm (Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream). The meal was packed in an insulated LD El Sr. Louis bag and also included a petite keepsake baking dish. Optional wine pair­ings featuring Missouri vineyards were available for an additional fee. A step-by-step instructional YouTube tutorial video was made to assist pur• chasers with their meal prep. Our GT Com­mittee was very pleased with the outcome. and plans are in process for another "Bag" event in late Spring.

Former LDEI St. Louis Scholarship Winner Tene Smith preps and assembles "Bags." Photo: Whitney Linsenmeyer

St. Louis Green Tables Puts Local Flavors in a Bag

by Marilyn Freundlich and Mildred Mattfeldt-Beman PhD, RD, LD (St. Louis)

A joint project of the Green Tables and Fundraising Committees, "Local Flavors in a Bag" (LFB) netted $2,500 for the St. Louis Chapter's student scholarships and community outreach grants. Designed to promote local businesses plus Missouri and Illinois farmers, the event featured seasonal ingredients in a gourmet meal kit for two. Costing $50 each, 65 bags were sold via, and a raffle and wine pairing garnered additional profits.

The October 23 event was co-chaired by chapter Vice President Mildred Matt­feldt-Beman PhD, RD, Green Tables Chair Whitney Linsenmeyer PhD, RDN, and Fundraising Chair Darla Crask, the October 23 event.

Each bag contained all the ingredients needed to prepare an entire meal for two adults and spotlighted local and seasonal produce. The Bag included the ingre­dients for a salad, main dish (Pasta con Broccoli and Rosemary Garlic Chicken), Apple Crisp topped with Nitro Ice Cream plus two petite baguettes. Angie Eckert from Eckert's Family Farms do­nated the apples for the crisp.

The meal kit was packed in an insulated LDEI St. Louis bag, along with a petit keepsake baking dish to be used for the dessert course. For an additional fee, wine pairings were also available featur­ing Missouri vineyards.
Dames made it a "Party for Two" pur­ring those great ingredients together for a really good meal. Ir was a LOT of fun. This is the first time we have done some­thing like this, cooking-wise.

We asked that the farmers deliver their produce to Saint Louis University (SLU); some were picked up by Dames. The bags were assembled in SLU's Shared Use Kitchen by two Dames, two previous scholarship winners, and about 15 volun­teers from the culinary class at SLU.

Tucked into each Bag were step-by-step instructions to prepare the meal, plus a link to a YouTube video tutorial with Dames demonstrating each course (www. ?v=ZS13YDjbDt4).

Whitney Linsenmeyer introduced the video. Alyse Scaglione showed how to make the dessert; Jamie Daugherty, the main dish; and Alicia Blackwell-Calvert, the wine pairings. This video went out to all meal kit recipients so they could follow along.

Stories of the local farmers and ven­dors who made the dinner possible were shared. In addition, the chapter's former scholarship winners assisted Dames in the video tutorial and packing the bags. Donated gifts from Sr. Louis businesses were raffled.

Bags could be picked up at one of three locations: Cecily Hoffius and Judith Bellos' Ces and Judy Catering; Fresh Gatherings Cafe, or STL Food Works. For an extra fee, Dames would deliver a bag to the purchaser's home.
For some added entertainment, a golden ticket was placed randomly in one of rhe bags, entitling the winner to free admission to our annual wine tasting fundraiser. The winners of the golden ticket wrote back, "Thank you for this lovely gift. We look forward to the next Les Dames event."

To publicize the event, we used social media, mailing lists, and our website. We also asked the farmers to place it on their social media.

The event feedback was only positive, and the Green Tables Committee is now planning is to repeat this fundraiser in May. Think Cinco de Mayo!

Eckert's Family Farms (Angie Eckert) Ozark Forest Mushrooms Buttonwood Farms
Earthdance Organic Farm (Moira Ross, former marketing and events manager)
Brian Severson Farm
Prairie Farms (Martha Kemper, Vice President, Dairy Experience)
SLU Urban Garden (Mildred Matt­feldt-Beman and Whitney Linsen­meyer)

Companion Bakery (Rose Beckerle, Sales Account Manager - provided petit baguettes)
Ford Hotel Supply (Christy Schlafly, President/CEO, provided lovely bak­ing dishes for the apple crisp) Niche Food Group (fresh pasta at wholesale price)
Russo's Catering (Kathy Costello, Director of Catering Sales, provided Alfredo sauce)

Flavors in a Bag ingredients. Ingredients from Flavors in a Bag made into dinner. Dame Whitney Linsenmeyer and scholarship recipient Madeline Nathe.

Wedding & Reception Farm Trends

Jamie Bryant (St. Louis), Owner, Blue Bell Farms in Fayette, Missouri, wrote, "There's a trend for wedding and receptions to be held on farms. Our seventh generation farm is one of the oldest family farms in Missouri. In 2014, we built an event barn designed to appear as if it has always been there. For weddings and farm dinners, we use fresh ingredients from our organic gardens that are part of our 300 acres. We also added a cut flower garden this year so that local florists can use flowers from the garden to create beautiful centerpieces for our events."