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Sunday Dinner- Coffee and Sinkers

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A seventh day installment on where to get free/cheap church-going grub. 

Growing up Roman Catholic, nothing makes Sunday morning more criminal than fasting. From the day of your first communion onward your not allowed so much as a breadcrumb until the paper-thin wafer passes your lips at mass. No good Catholic childhood would be complete without either passing out at the altar rail or seeing one of your classmates keel over in a cloud of incense at least once.

Sometimes you’ll luck out and belong to one of those hippy-dippy parishes where instead of the wafers, they pass out chunks of Hawaiian bread and grape juice, but most of the time the only thing you have to look forward to is the micro-buzz you get from the swig of church wine that will tithe you over ‘til the…. DOUGHNUTS.

It’s hard to say when or why it first came about but most Catholic Churches have a tradition of passing out some sort of pastry (usually the cruller variety) paired with institutional grade sludge after the priest has finally promenaded off the altar. Nothing makes you want to give thanks quite like that first bite of fried dough and icing after a listless hour of early morning chanting and non-stop kneeling.

Now granted, a meal of doughnuts loses its appeal after the age of say, six or before sixty but sometimes you luck out and they have the occasional savory options here and there.  According to Catholic San Francisco Corpus Christi in the Excelsior, for example, is rumoured to offer a free breakfast by their Bible study group , but it sounds a little like a trap. And leave it to tony Saint Denis in Menlo Park to have a wine, cheese and charcutirie spread.

There are some downsides to this insulin-spiking freebie, however.

The biggest of which is actually having to step into the nearest outpost of the increasingly unpleasant Mother Church. This is an especially rough prospect here in the city where Pope Benedict XVI aka Emperor Palpatine has recently installed his own lord Sith in the person of Prop 8 co-authoress extrordinaire , Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. With drag queens recently getting the boot at Most Holy Redeemer, it seems like he won’t be wasting any time in bringing his own special brand of sunshine to God’s children in Sodom-by-the-Sea.

You could of course, do what seasoned pros like old church women and altar servers do and just run in beofre services are over, grab as many as you can cram in your hand bag or under your surplice and jet. Just bear in mind that these little hospitality tables tend to be manned by paramilitary groups such as the scouts, the Knights of Columbus or the Ladies Altar Society so try not to make eye contact or they’ll try to strong arm you into dumping guilt cash into their Chock-Full O’ Nuts can.

For  Catholic San Francisco‘s comprehensive list of the sinker circuit, check here.



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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.