UNCG Campus Weekly

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Breakfast Casseroles for Thirty

040710Feature_SimsSeveral UNCG individuals contributed unique gifts to the State Employees Combined Campaign (SECC) auction last fall. Skip Capone contributed a plane ride. Chancellor Brady contributed a “lunch with the chancellor.”

Dr. Laura Sims, dean of Human Environmental Sciences, contributed a special auction item: a homemade breakfast, with all the trimmings. What did she have in mind? “Maybe a family of four?” she said recently.

It didn’t quite turn out that way.

Dr. Bob Wineburg (Social Work) saw the gift offered at the SECC Auction table. “It said ‘a group,'” he recalled, not a specific number. 2009 SECC chair Dr. John Rife (HES) saw him eyeing it. Wineburg told him, “I’m going for this.”

Rife said, “I’ll match you.”

Their large, combined bid far surpassed the other bids on the list.

And they knew who they wanted to present the breakfast to: the housekeeping staff of their building. Sims suggested an even bigger group, with administrative and secretarial staff in their building, as well.

Which is why if you passed by the Edwards Lounge in Stone Building early on March 24, you’d have seen a table decked out with fresh flowers, place settings and a big message on the board which said: “Thanks for all you do for HES!!”

And you’d have seen Sims, in apron, rolling a cart down from the Cooking Lab, where she’d put the final touches on five casseroles she’d made for the honored recipients.

“I did do them all myself,” she said. She’d used three recipes. There was the “Sims Breakfast Casserole,” the recipe she traditionally uses on Thanksgiving morning. A vegetarian recipe. And a “French toast with praline topping” one. Plus there was fruit and granola, with yogurt, and various homemade muffins. Juices and coffee rounded out the breakfast.

Sims spoke of her pediatrician daughter in Thailand, a son in Texas, another son in the Virgin Islands. She doesn’t cook large meals so often – but on this day, she pulled out all the stops.

Denise Sherron, whom Sims called “my sous chef,” helped Sims with some final touches. Emily Caudle helped as well.

Rife was away, but Wineburg was able to join in the meal. Sims addressed all the staff assembled, who gave her a round of applause. Wineburg spoke as well, noting that this was one way to show thanks.

Then everyone enjoyed.