In ultra-polite society, we do not often get the chance to eat dessert first. We eat appetizers first.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, ticket holders who walk through the Payson Public Library doors for a Taste of Rim Country will have their choice of dessert and appetizers to sample, courtesy of a wide range of chefs, restaurants and organizations.
"We had all the chefs here last week and they are really excited," said reference librarian Bessie Tucker.
"We thought it would be a unique experience. It gives us a great opportunity to showcase the library and we are excited about it," Terry Morris, library director, said.
Kevin DeWitt, the chef at the Zane Grey Steakhouse and Saloon, promised "a dessert that will knock your socks off."
Leonie Dobbins of the Red Elephant Bakery is bringing a chocolate dessert.
Payson Institute of Learning members Karen Borgman, Jacqui Grabel, Marilyn Ekern, Mary Young and Carol von Barandy have teamed up with the Rim Golf Club to bring a variety of desserts to the library.
There will be Lemon Coconut Divine Bars, Apricot Bars, Lemon Bars, Seven Layer Bars and, for the health-conscious, Carrot Apple Raisin Bars.
"We thought this was a wonderful way for the Payson Learning Institute to be involved in the community," Grabel said.
"I might shake it up with a chocolate or amaretto tiramisu," Moceri said, but as of press time, he had not yet made up his mind.
Moceri is also helping Devon Wells and her students in the culinary program at Payson High School bring food to the event.
Just what tasty dishes is a secret.
The participating students are Justin Richardson, Robert Foster, Mark Desmond, Samantha Trujillo and Talia Schall.
On the appetizer side, there will be, "The most requested appetizer when we have the Superbowl party at my house," DeWitt hinted.
Leonie Dobbins, owner and baker at the Red Elephant Bakery, is making Vegetable Cheesecake.
Chili's Grill and Bar Manager Kenny Tussell will bring an assortment of their customers' favorite appetizers to the event.
Tim Young, chef at the Buffalo Bar and Grill is cooking for A Taste of Rim Country for the first time.
He plans to bring two soups for library patrons to try. One is a secret, the other is Buffalo owner Cindy McCannon's favorite -- Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Chef Karl Schaller is keeping his lips sealed with regard to the appetizer and dessert he is preparing in his kitchen at Majestic Rim.
A Taste of Rim Country begins 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23 between the bookshelves at the Payson Public Library.
The library will close at noon to allow the chefs time to prepare for the gala.
DJ Fred Carpenter will provide the musical ambiance.
There will be a selection of red and white wines and other non-alcoholic beverages.
The silent auction will be in the public meeting room.
General admission tickets are available for purchase at the library. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Fifty percent of the $30 ticket cost is tax-deductible. Funds raised will go toward the $1.4 million library expansion project, designed to fit the growing needs of Payson. The plan calls for a 5,500-square-foot wing stocked with wireless Internet access, 20 computer terminals and extra space.
The number of library cards and Internet use is growing, Tucker said.
"A Taste of Rim Country is always a fun, upbeat gathering. This year, people who might not have seen our incredible library can come in and see the need for expansion," library volunteer Vee Jeanne said.