SOMERS, N.Y. - Somers paramedic Bill Rothschild stood behind his huge pasta pot outside the Somers Fire House and gladly shared his pasta-making secret. I have to test every batch, he said. It doesnt go by time.
Rothschild calls himself a pastacologist, a sobriquet he has no doubt earned through his ability to handle between six and ten pounds of pasta at one time.
The Saturday pasta dinner was the annual fundraiser for the Somers Fire House. Although the Somers Fire Department comprises a single district, run by five publicly elected commissioners, there are four different fire houses in town.
We used to have a game dinner to raise funds for the entire fire department once a year, said Rothschild. Ostrich and kangaroo But it got to be too much work, so now each firehouse does its own fundraiser.
Richard Hocker used to be a Somers fireman before he moved upstate. He helped to start the annual pasta dinner about 10 years ago, and comes back every year to help out. His wife brought along 115 cupcakes. Other desserts were provided by other wives.
Eric Zohar, the inside kitchen boss, explained, We love taking care of people. We feed them, we put out their fires. We love what we do. Once in a while we end up in somebodys house and they say, Hey, I know you -- you fed us pasta.
Hungry people came from all over to enjoy the meal. Lots of youngsters and their families came after the AYSO Soccerfest at Reis Park. Jennifer and Don, a couple from Battery Park City, drove up especially for the dinner. Last year, they were just passing by and had such a good time, and such a good meal, that it was worth an encore.
Rothschild estimated that before the night was over he would cook about 200 pounds of pasta (penne and spaghetti) for about 400 dinners. He uses Barilla pasta, because it is the best value at BJs.
Jesses Deli of Somers provided 40 gallons of red sauce and 1,000 meatballs at cost. No charge for labor. Casa DiLisio of Mt. Kisco also donated food. Mrs. DiLisio herself came to the dinner.
Somers Fire House President Mike Coughlin said, Somers is 33½ square miles and our fire department is 100% volunteer. Our calls have quadrupled in the last decade. We have the highest volume of calls [for an all-volunteer department] in the county. Others may have more calls, but they have paid firefighters.
Right now we have 110 volunteers but we are stretched thin. Its very taxing on the people we do have," he said. "A lot of people dont realize were strictly volunteer. Its a great way to give back to your community."
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