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Cookin' Up Some Fun at Leisure Club

May 19, 1988|MIKE SPENCER | Times Staff Writer

There's not a cook in the bunch and most of them wouldn't know a recipe from a receipt, but twice a month they turn out a meal for more than 100 members of the Laguna Hills Leisure World Rod and Gun Club.

Simple meals to be sure, but meals nevertheless and proof that the dining experience often has more to do with the company than the menu.

Proof also that the concept that men don't belong in the kitchen has no foothold in a generation in which support for it would have been expected. These guys, after all, average 76 years of age.

"What is most interesting is that this small group of grandfathers, without any previous food-handling experience, lays out a feast that would do credit to a professional caterer," says Samuel Strauss, who writes a weekly column for the Leisure World newspaper on the activities of the club.

In his letter suggesting that Guys & Galleys take a look at the boys in the back room of the club, Strauss said that what started as supplying snacks for the meetings "has gradually become more and more elaborate and now consists of large trays of many kinds of hors d'oeuvres and sandwiches, beautifully displayed on a long, white cloth-covered table."

The meal--and the raffling of certain spirits at its conclusion--has considerably boosted attendance, according to Art Vandenberg, who has been laboring in the kitchen for a couple of years.

"Originally, 18 guys volunteered for the food committee, but only six showed up. You know how that goes in any volunteer thing. Well, somehow that six seems to unofficially become the whole committee and we're still hard at it," says Vandenberg.

The other five are Phil Abramoff, Sam Bavnick, Ben Berkowitz, Lew Coil, Ralph Farley and Bob Norstad.

Between luncheon meetings, the club organizes deep-sea and freshwater fishing trips and trap-shooting tournaments. "No real hunting trips," says Vandenberg, "just out to the trap-shooting range in Coto de Caza." In all, the club has more than 300 members, most of them active.

The lunches, which he says take more than three hours to prepare, consist of simple sandwiches (many of the members are on bland diets) and snacks such as crackers and cheese and other spreads.

"We do have a few elaborate dinners each year," says Vandenberg. And what do they do for those events?

"We call a caterer."

Each week, Orange County Life will feature a man who enjoys cooking and a favorite recipe. Tell us about your candidate. Write to Guys & Galleys, Orange County Life, L.A. Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.

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