There’s a line in songwriter John Gorka’s song “Italian Girls,” that ends with “espresso mornings/lasagna nights.” I mention this for a reason.
First, let me say that NPT’s March Membership campaign is winding down so if you haven’t made a pledge of support, please consider doing so by calling 615-259-2100 or going online at www.wnpt.net/support. Your support is critical to the future of the programming that you value on NPT.
Now to my reason for the Gorka lyric. Each pledge night is run by over a dozen people, both NPT employees and volunteers, who man (or woman) the cameras, answer the phones or keep things flowing in the control room so the screen doesn’t go black. Somebody has to feed all these people, and each night generous local restaurants donate food to keep everyone going. For our March membership drive, sustenance came in from Ambrosia Catering, Boscos Nashville Brewing Co. (sans the beer), Caesar’s Ristorante Italiano, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Honeybaked Ham, Loveless Café, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Richie’s Hot and Spicy Kastle. We’re extremely grateful for their generosity.
Of course, the list of people working the membership nights also includes the on-air talent, or in my case, “talent.” I won’t get into how I did, or how nervous I was, or why I decided to change my clothes halfway through it, but I will say that I worked on a night when sustenance did not come from an outside vendor. It came from our own Miguel Otero who does a kind of juggling act involving Michelangelo’s frozen lasagna and the two microwave ovens in the kitchen. It’s something to see. A corner is peeled back on a single carton of lasagna to vent the contents and then the carton is tossed into one oven and the timer is set, only to be followed by another carton about five seconds later that is tossed into the second oven, creating a five second window in which one is done before the other. The lasagna done first needs to be extracted from its carton and placed in a deep-dish foil pan before the other is done, but not before a new one is tossed into the now vacant oven. It’s all seamless, and involves a spatula. The whole process is conducted about twenty times in order to make sure the entire staff is fed. But wait, there’s more. The whole time he’s mastering the frozen lasagna juggling-and-heating-up trick, he’s baking cookies in the conventional oven. I kid you not. Then, if you’re the on-air “talent” (guess who I’m referring to) you might then see Miguel behind the camera. I can’t explain how he does it.
So thanks to all those fine restaurants for donating food. You keep us, and that includes all the volunteers, well-fed and ready to answer the phones. And you give Miguel an opportunity to concentrate on the cookies (and the million other things he’s keeping track of in addition to making sure everyone eats, which I neglected to mention…without him we’d collapse).
By the way, speaking of the on-air “talent,” how’d I do? Which one was I? I was the one that changed his clothes in the middle of the show.
The espresso you ask? The next morning.