St. Charles Parish photos
St. Charles parishioner Jim Calabrese and his two sons, Tom and Joe, are ready to stir the pot.
St. Charles Parish photos
St. Charles parishioner Jim Calabrese and his two sons, Tom and Joe, are ready to stir the pot.
In early November in the 1950s, Italian women of St. Charles Parish in Northeast Portland would step out of the house and say to their husbands, “Goodbye, I’ll see you in four days.”

The small band of dedicated workers from the Boitano, Fazio, Codino and Siri families would head to the parish and busy themselves with the business of making sauce in the kitchen, rolling meatballs, making salad, bread and pies.

Since 1950, the dinner has been held on or around the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo. The cooks have used the same secret meatball recipe for 61 years. This year’s dinner will be Sunday, Nov. 6.

“Today, 61 years later, like all things that grow and mature, changes have taken place,” said Marcia Fuerstenberg, dinner committee chairwoman. “Dinner preparations are now year-round and each generation adds to the legacy of those gone before as the parish continues the wonderful family spirit of everyone coming together to make the dinner a success.”