The Wedding Breakfast


It was 7 a.m. on September 13, 1945, at the end of World War II, exactly 11 days after the surrender of Japan. The pre-dawn marriage took place at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Clarion, Pennsylvania, between Johnny Garneau, a sergeant and chaplain’s assistant in the Army Air Corps. and Lois Space, a local girl who was a shoe buyer for Wein’s department store on Main Street. Johnny came from Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he learned to fly at Sikorsky Field. He met Lois while he was stationed in the small western Pennsylvania college town where he trained cadets.

Why a Wedding at 7 a.m.?

We can only guess why. Maybe there was a long line of soldiers wanting to marry their war-time sweethearts and you had to do it when the priest was available. Or maybe it was because back then you had to fast from midnight until you broke your fast with Holy Communion. A later wedding time would have meant a long time to wait to eat.

Dad and Mom started their marriage early that day in 1945 and it lasted for 55 years until Mom died. What they talked about most from that morning was the wedding breakfast prepared by my dad’s new mother-in-law. Gran prepared his favorite dish – Pepper Sandwiches. It’s always memories of food that mark the times of our lives.

We grew up eating Pepper Sandwiches and dad always reminded us that this was their wedding breakfast. The ratatouille-like concoction is a summer dish served on Italian bread open-face style. My version has deviated only a little from the original recipe. But, whenever I make Pepper Sandwiches, they taste the same and the 1945 wedding breakfast topic comes up.

Pepper Sandwiches Recipe

The fresh ingredients above are used for Pepper Sandwiches which are served on crusty, soft Italian bread. Eat as a summer, meatless entrée or serve with something from the grill.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil or other preferred oil
  • 8-10 peppers, any sweet variety, bell, Cubanelle, red, cleaned, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into thin rings
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces) Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes (or any kind, even fresh)
  • 1 12-ounce jar Heinz Chili Sauce (the secret ingredient)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

An electric skillet works well but a large sauté pan will also do. Put the oil in the pan, then add the cleaned peppers, onions, tomatoes, including juice. Cook until tender. Stir in the jar of Chili Sauce. Simmer until ready to eat.

The secret ingredient from a Pittsburgh company.

The secret ingredient from a Pittsburgh company.


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