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Church and Community Dinners
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  • Church and Community Dinners

    Post #1 - October 21st, 2010, 3:12 pm
    Post #1 - October 21st, 2010, 3:12 pm Post #1 - October 21st, 2010, 3:12 pm
    I was encouraged to start a thread on church dinners open to the public. Of course if you want to inspire us with creative dinners "within" a community...please share!

    Church dinners have been part of the American landscape from the beginning. It encouraged the community to come together, raised money, and of course put out the welcome mat for anyone interested in a faith based community. Living in the Genoa, Kingston, DeKalb, Sycamore area I have attended more than my share of church dinners. I can testify there have been some unique and delicious church dinners available in this area.

    As our society seems to have become faster paced and somewhat over involved, there has been some erosion of the integrity of the church dinner. Heck, I went to one where they served Oreo cookies for dessert! :x A travesty to be sure. Still, there are some really good...and sometimes great church dinners out there...if you know about them. I'm going to start this off with a very nice church dinner that is coming up on Saturday. I've gone many times. It is humble, but everything has been made from scratch...by real church ladies! :D

    Creamed Turkey Dinner
    Time: 4 - 7 p.m.
    Date: Saturday, Oct 23
    Place: St. John's Lutheran Church
    26555 Brickville Rd.
    Sycamore, IL.

    Cost: $8.00 for adults, $3 children 6-12, 5 and younger free. For each adult paid ticket, one child (ages 6-12) can eat free. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

    Meal includes creamed turkey over biscuit and mashed potatoes, green beans or butternut squash, cranberry salad or applesauce, homemade pies and desserts, beverages. There will also be a bake sale.
  • Post #2 - October 21st, 2010, 7:29 pm
    Post #2 - October 21st, 2010, 7:29 pm Post #2 - October 21st, 2010, 7:29 pm
    Good idea for a thread, and not to digress too much, but when I was a kid, my dad took us to a synagogue (I'm a protestant, confirmed in the same Bethel United Church of Christ class with Hal McGee: another story). After the main event, we were served this incredibly delicious cake; I can still see it: it was like a light devil's food with a very buttery frosting. As a young child, before I knew sacraments from succotash, my idea of Judaism was inextricably wrought up with this dessert, which I thought was somehow part of the whole thing, leading me from an early age to consider it a very fine religion, to serve such cake.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - October 22nd, 2010, 9:25 am
    Post #3 - October 22nd, 2010, 9:25 am Post #3 - October 22nd, 2010, 9:25 am
    Nice topic.

    Growing up and now with my family we have attended the Big Woods Church annual Pork and Kraut Dinner for the past 30+ years.

    Typically held the first weekend of March @ the church itself, and the last couple years at a banquet hall in Warrenville.

    This is one of the oldest churches in DuPage County dating back to to 1830's.

    The event offers roasted pork loin, bread dumplings, a few version of sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Not to mention kolacky cookies.

    Inexpensive and a good meal. I hav eno affiliation with this church, one of my childhood neighbors was an active member and sold us tickets each year.

    2011 date has not been announced yet, here is the church contact info:

    Big Woods Congregational Church(Annual Pork and Kraut Dinner)
    3s477 Eola Road
    Naperville, IL.
    630-898-0451
    Last edited by jimswside on October 22nd, 2010, 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #4 - October 22nd, 2010, 10:37 am
    Post #4 - October 22nd, 2010, 10:37 am Post #4 - October 22nd, 2010, 10:37 am
    a few version of sauerkraut


    My kind of dinner!
  • Post #5 - October 25th, 2010, 6:41 pm
    Post #5 - October 25th, 2010, 6:41 pm Post #5 - October 25th, 2010, 6:41 pm
    I was raised the now agnostic son of Presbyterian Evangelicals in the deep south. Like most evangelical Presbyterians, my parents may have well believed that you were going to get a better patio home in heaven (as Presbyterians, we were all preselected to go to heaven after all) if you went to church more times a week than anyone else.

    We were there every time the doors open: Sunday morning, Sunday Night, Wednesday Bible Study, Monday Prayer Breakfast, once quarterly Missionary conferences, and Saturday church project detail.

    In that experience, I saw the best and worst of church suppers as we called them down south. My mom used to make really crappy ground beef tacos in hard shells for dinner after youth choir practice on Sunday nights. Some parents (who we really liked) would bring McDonalds or Arby's.

    When the missionaries came to town, we hit the jackpot- an old fashioned covered dish supper where everyone brought a dish and placed it on a big old table for everyone else to share. This was southern old lady cooking at its best- from deviled eggs to fried chicken to homemade dressing and jello salad- everything you could imagine was on that table.

    Those missionaries had it pretty good. They would spend six months in the field (I always envied that one missionary family from southern California with their tanned smiling kids and nicer clothes than we had) and then 3-4 months traveling from church to church, raising money and eating this kick ass old lady prepared covered dish supper one or two nights a week in some one horse southern town like Augusta or Birmingham.

    When I was in my early teens, I experienced the Nirvana of church suppers. We moved to North Carolina and I guess that the Presbyterians in North Carolina needed something more than a nice patio home in Heaven to convince them to come to church than we Georgians did- so, they used really good food to get you there. On Sunday mornings, the old men of the small town church we were members of fried up some crispy sweet apple donuts that were served with hot coffee between Sunday School and church.

    About an hour before the Sunday night singing hour, this kind, older, grandmotherly type would come in and cook dinner for anyone that showed up for Sunday night church. Her menu could consist of anything from chicken pan pie, to hot dogs with homemade chili, to big steaming bowls of vegetable beef soup. There was always a salad and always neat little squares of homemade iced cake squares to go with the entree of the night. Wednesday morning prayer breakfast consisted of home baked sausage biscuits made by some serious southern biscuit makers. I suspect the probably ground their own sausage.

    My mom is still a member of that church and she say she doesn't think they still do all of that every week when I ask.

    If you're ever in the rural or small town south, there's no better place to eat good than your local church after services.
  • Post #6 - October 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    Post #6 - October 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm Post #6 - October 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    Will,

    When you lived this church going life, were these church suppers populated by mixed generations or the church elders? The ones I visit is a more established senior citizen crowd.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - October 25th, 2010, 8:51 pm
    Post #7 - October 25th, 2010, 8:51 pm Post #7 - October 25th, 2010, 8:51 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Will,

    When you lived this church going life, were these church suppers populated by mixed generations or the church elders? The ones I visit is a more established senior citizen crowd.

    Regards,


    I was waiting for your report. How was the Creamed Turkey Dinner in DeKalb?
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #8 - October 26th, 2010, 5:11 am
    Post #8 - October 26th, 2010, 5:11 am Post #8 - October 26th, 2010, 5:11 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Will,

    When you lived this church going life, were these church suppers populated by mixed generations or the church elders? The ones I visit is a more established senior citizen crowd.

    Regards,


    Pretty much everyone went regardless of age. These were the kinds of towns where everyone was pretty involved in church.
  • Post #9 - October 26th, 2010, 8:27 am
    Post #9 - October 26th, 2010, 8:27 am Post #9 - October 26th, 2010, 8:27 am
    Yourpalwill...what an interesting (very interesting) post! My own church attendance has been more of just a Sunday morning (8:00 AM) experience. Lately I've taken to sitting on the couch in the narthex during services. What an epiphany! I vote to put couches in the main sanctuary. :D

    Anyway, I am waiting to see if Cathy2 went to the Creamed Turkey dinner. I did not go, but my mother (who went) told me it was outstanding as usual.

    I may have written this somewhere else here on LTH, but a the most memorable dish at a church supper I have ever experienced was a multi layer jello. The pastor's wife always made it, and I believe there were about 16 layers of various colored jello. The talent was showcased by serving it free standing (as in turned out of a mold). It was a thing to behold. It put all the church's stained glass windows to shame.

    Memories!
  • Post #10 - October 26th, 2010, 8:58 am
    Post #10 - October 26th, 2010, 8:58 am Post #10 - October 26th, 2010, 8:58 am
    Y'all have inspired me. So far, I have found three church dinners in my community over the next week:

    Soul Food at a Baptist Church downtown
    Brats and Kraut at a Lutheran Church about a mile away
    Spaghetti Dinner at the Methodist Church up the street
  • Post #11 - October 26th, 2010, 11:25 pm
    Post #11 - October 26th, 2010, 11:25 pm Post #11 - October 26th, 2010, 11:25 pm
    pairs4life wrote:How was the Creamed Turkey Dinner in DeKalb?

    Creamy. And starchy—it was served on both biscuits and mashed potatoes.

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Creamed Turkey Dinner
    St John's Lutheran Church
    26555 Brickville Rd
    Sycamore IL

    The fun doesn't stop in Sycamore, Illinois. This weekend is the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival, held annually since 1962. Among the scheduled events is the Beef Burger Luncheon at Bethel Assembly of God Church (131 W Elm St), Saturday from 10 to 6 and Sunday from noon to 4.
  • Post #12 - October 27th, 2010, 9:15 am
    Post #12 - October 27th, 2010, 9:15 am Post #12 - October 27th, 2010, 9:15 am
    Well dang...Rene...I would have met you for lunch! For those of you who have never been to Sycamore's Pumkin Fest...the pumpkin decoration display on the courthouse lawn is really great.
  • Post #13 - October 27th, 2010, 12:30 pm
    Post #13 - October 27th, 2010, 12:30 pm Post #13 - October 27th, 2010, 12:30 pm
    HI,

    Starchy? It is classic food to fill you inexpensively and well, then head out back to the fields. My favorite is beef or chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. When it was served at a Greater Midwest Foodways program, all the city folk stood over it commenting on the starch. Once they dug in, they recognized it works well together.

    The filling of Rene G's pie is apple-cherry.

    In the church's lobby there was a display of model John Deere tractors. Some of the parishners are retirees whose contributions to John Deere were highlighted. The display was similar to what I would expect to see in a local history museum.

    While this is a pretty good church meal, I still think the church dinner in Kingston is tops!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #14 - October 28th, 2010, 8:57 am
    Post #14 - October 28th, 2010, 8:57 am Post #14 - October 28th, 2010, 8:57 am
    Ask and you shall receive:

    Turkey Dinner
    Kingston United methodist Church
    121 W. First St.
    Kingston, IL. 60145

    Adults: $8.00
    Children: $3.50

    I can't personally vouch for the turkey dinner, but when the Swiss Steak dinner rolls around...oh boy!

    A whole hog sausage/all you can eat breakfast is coming up. I'll post that when the details come out.
  • Post #15 - January 23rd, 2011, 9:42 pm
    Post #15 - January 23rd, 2011, 9:42 pm Post #15 - January 23rd, 2011, 9:42 pm
    Hi,

    I'm always sorry when I read about these in the past tense: Finnish church supper last Sunday.

    If you don’t know reika leipa from mojakka, chances are you missed the Finnish Celebration Sunday at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

    On Friday and Saturday, women of the church at 3350 N. Delany Road were busy baking wheels of reika leipa (rye bread), cooking pots of mojakka (beef and vegetable soup) and tossing red beets for salad for the sixth annual event.

    Finns from all over Lake County and beyond were welcomed to enjoy familiar food and traditional songs and dances. And the $15 admission supported St. Mark’s travel club, explained Lucille Tolonen of Beach Park, team leader for ministry of hospitality at the church.

    I'm calling tomorrow to get on their e-mail list.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - February 10th, 2011, 1:58 pm
    Post #16 - February 10th, 2011, 1:58 pm Post #16 - February 10th, 2011, 1:58 pm
    I have no affiliation with this group, but the Kumla sounds interesting(at least to me).

    What: 26th Annual Kumla Supper sponsored by the Fern Dell Historic Association

    When: Sat, Feb 19th - 4, 5, & 6 p.m. seatings

    Where: Newark, IL. Firehouse, Newark, IL.

    Menu: Ham, Kumla(norwegian potato dumpling), applesauce, bread & Dessert

    Cost: $9 for adults & $4 for kids 8 and under - tickets sold only in advance call 815-695-5240. for ticket info
    Last edited by jimswside on February 9th, 2012, 10:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #17 - February 10th, 2011, 2:15 pm
    Post #17 - February 10th, 2011, 2:15 pm Post #17 - February 10th, 2011, 2:15 pm
    Jim,

    Have you gone?

    Razbry,

    I am sure you will check out this thread. The church dinner your Mother went at a nearby church last year, didn't they serve Kumla? Could you remind me of this church's name and location? If it is coming up, maybe you could advise the details?

    Thanks to both of you!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - February 10th, 2011, 2:26 pm
    Post #18 - February 10th, 2011, 2:26 pm Post #18 - February 10th, 2011, 2:26 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Jim,

    Have you gone?



    I have not, I just found out about it today when I was reading the local paper today.

    I'm guessing its good, 26th year and all. Plus Norway is Newarks neighbor to the west, both were settled by Norwegian and Scandanavian settlers back in the early 1800's.
  • Post #19 - February 10th, 2011, 2:31 pm
    Post #19 - February 10th, 2011, 2:31 pm Post #19 - February 10th, 2011, 2:31 pm
    Hi Cathy
    You are correct, the Kumla dinner is coming up. My mom is already nudging me to take her. I'll get the details and report back.
  • Post #20 - February 10th, 2011, 9:27 pm
    Post #20 - February 10th, 2011, 9:27 pm Post #20 - February 10th, 2011, 9:27 pm
    Here are a couple photos from a kumla dinner put on two years ago by the Sons of Norway. Unfortunately I don't remember the exact location but it was in a church in a small town near DeKalb. Kumla are dense, somewhat gummy potato dumplings. These were boiled in the ham broth. I like 'em.

    Kumla
    Image

    Krumkake, Kringla
    Image
  • Post #21 - February 11th, 2011, 7:54 am
    Post #21 - February 11th, 2011, 7:54 am Post #21 - February 11th, 2011, 7:54 am
    Rene, that is the dinner that is coming up at St. John's (Lutheran) Church in Creston. I'll get more info. I'm taking my mom, but I gotta say, potato balls boiled in ham juice is not high on my culinary list. These babies lay like a stone in your gut. Still, it is a ethnic treat to many Norwegians!
  • Post #22 - February 11th, 2011, 8:01 am
    Post #22 - February 11th, 2011, 8:01 am Post #22 - February 11th, 2011, 8:01 am
    Call for more info. on the Kumla Dinner

    St John's Lutheran Church

    126 East South Street
    Creston, IL 60113
    (815) 384-3720
  • Post #23 - February 17th, 2011, 9:56 am
    Post #23 - February 17th, 2011, 9:56 am Post #23 - February 17th, 2011, 9:56 am
    HI,

    Reading through WPA food writing, I learned of sauerkraut suppers. One in our region:

    3/6/2011 SauerKraut Supper 3:00-6:00 PM
    3/9/2011 Lenten Soup Supper 5:45 PM

    Zion Lutheran Church
    865 South Church Road
    Bensenville, IL 60106
    Phone: 630-766-1039

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #24 - February 17th, 2011, 12:51 pm
    Post #24 - February 17th, 2011, 12:51 pm Post #24 - February 17th, 2011, 12:51 pm
    The church secretary provided additional information for the sauerkraut dinner:

    You don't need to buy your tickets before the event. You will need to wait to be seated at the door. Sometimes the wait is 30 minutes long. Here is the info-

    Men’s Club Annual Sauerkraut Supper
    March 6th 3-6PM
    ickets $15 Children $5 under 6 free

    All you can eat………
    Pork Shank * Thuringer Sausage* Bratwurst * Sauerkraut * Boiled Potatoes* and more!
    Fine Desserts by Andresen’s Bakery
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #25 - February 20th, 2011, 7:24 pm
    Post #25 - February 20th, 2011, 7:24 pm Post #25 - February 20th, 2011, 7:24 pm
    jimswside wrote:What: 26th Annual Kumla Supper sponsored by the Fern Dell Historic Association

    When: Sat, Feb 19th - 4, 5, & 6 p.m. seatings

    Where: Newark, IL. Firehouse, Newark, IL.

    Menu: Ham, Kumla(norwegian potato dumpling), applesauce, bread & Dessert

    Very cool setting in the active firehouse. They simply moved out most of the trucks and set up tables.

    Image

    Image

    Trying kumla twice hardly makes me an expert but I'd give slightly higher marks to the ones in Creston (see above). They had more ham flavor and a slightly less gummy texture (though I don't think there's any such thing as light kumla).

    Men’s Club Annual Sauerkraut Supper
    March 6th 3-6PM
    Tickets $15 Children $5 under 6 free

    All you can eat………
    Pork Shank * Thuringer Sausage* Bratwurst * Sauerkraut * Boiled Potatoes* and more!
    Fine Desserts by Andresen’s Bakery

    I first found out about this sauerkraut supper from a flier in the window of Andresen's Bakery in Bensenville. At least a couple years ago you could count on applesauce, green beans and bread as well.

    Image
  • Post #26 - February 22nd, 2011, 5:16 pm
    Post #26 - February 22nd, 2011, 5:16 pm Post #26 - February 22nd, 2011, 5:16 pm
    Trying kumla twice hardly makes me an expert but I'd give slightly higher marks to the ones in Creston (see above). They had more ham flavor and a slightly less gummy texture (though I don't think there's any such thing as light kumla).


    Rene, I have been told by many Kumla lovers that the Kumla in Creston is a top notch execution of the dish. I talked to some of the church members last Sunday, and this is a very labor intensive process. There are no children/young people left in this little country church, so I suspect that this particular dinner will vanish with the aging church members.

    Here are the details:

    15th Annual Kumla Supper
    St. John's Lutheran Church
    Creston, IL.

    April 2, 2011

    Seatings at Noon, 4:30 and 6:00
    Carryout available from Noon to 7

    $12.00 for adults
    $6.00 for ages 12 and under

    Menu:
    Kumla & Ham
    Carrots
    Norwegian Cookies

    Reserve your tickets by calling 815 384-3720 or 815 384-5325

    No tickets available at the door (although I know a couple of LTHers that talked themselves past that point!)

    I've PROMISED my mother to take her to the 4:30 seating. So I'll be there!

    For those who like to piggy back one event onto another, the Methodist church in Kingston (see previous post) will be on the same day.

    Kumla.....it's something different! :D
  • Post #27 - March 7th, 2011, 12:57 pm
    Post #27 - March 7th, 2011, 12:57 pm Post #27 - March 7th, 2011, 12:57 pm
    It was fun attending the annual sauerkraut supper in what's left of the German community in what's left of Bensenville. I hope to do it again next year.

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Rye bread with caraway seeds from Andresen's Bakery was an unexpected highlight.

    Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
    865 S Church Rd
    Bensenville IL

    Andresen's Bakery
    213 W Main St
    Bensenville IL
    630-766-1025
  • Post #28 - March 7th, 2011, 2:57 pm
    Post #28 - March 7th, 2011, 2:57 pm Post #28 - March 7th, 2011, 2:57 pm
    "It's meat heaven," said one young guest at the Harvard game dinner.

    Image

    Most of the food was prepared in the club's well-appointed kitchen but a few meats were grilled outside, including some fantastic goose breast. These guys really know what they're doing.

    Image

    We had a significant wait to get into the building but they kept us supplied with antelope burgers, pheasant jambalaya and bison chili.

    Image

    First up were the appetizers: bison chili, fried bluegill, pheasant egg rolls and more.

    Image Image

    Then a variety of pates, sausages, smoked meats and pickled fish.

    Image Image

    Appetizer plate, from the top: venison sausage, pheasant egg roll, another venison sausage, antelope meatballs, unremembered smoked meat, pickled northern pike, venison liver pate and smoked salmon.

    Image

    I could have gone home very satisfied at that point but it was only a small fraction of what was on offer. Going down the main food line was a great experience, with a bunch of friendly guys practically forcing you to pile your plate higher.

    Image

    My memory is a meaty blur but thanks to some pictures, I recall wild hog and kraut, barbecued wild hog ribs and pheasant a la king.

    Image Image

    Then mule deer lasagna, venison mostaccioli, elk stew (actually containing some vegetables!) and barbecued pheasant.

    Image Image

    Italian elk (make and dip your own sandwich), venison stroganoff and a do-it-yourself elk taco bar.

    Image Image

    Main dishes, from the top: Italian elk, fried bluegill, grilled goose breast, mule deer lasagna, braised bear, barbecued wild hog, venison Salisbury steak with mushrooms, elk stew and meatloaf made from some beast I can't remember.

    Image

    The dessert table was plentiful but I was too full to care much.

    Image

    I tried this fried wonton-like thing only because it looked like it was filled with meat. Alas, it contained banana and chocolate.

    Image

    Great event. It was almost enough to make me want to go out and shoot something.

    Image

    Harvard Sportsman's Club
    21226 US Route 14
    Harvard IL
  • Post #29 - March 7th, 2011, 3:03 pm
    Post #29 - March 7th, 2011, 3:03 pm Post #29 - March 7th, 2011, 3:03 pm
    Wow! I was a chef at a wild game restaurant and didn't serve half of that. What a great experience! Thanks for sharing.
  • Post #30 - March 7th, 2011, 3:07 pm
    Post #30 - March 7th, 2011, 3:07 pm Post #30 - March 7th, 2011, 3:07 pm
    HI,

    This was a most manly man of meals. All meat, hardly a vegetable seen, no salads of any description and lots of dessert.

    Guys were in the kitchen. Women hovered over the dessert table. Everyone present was happy.

    An upcoming smelt dinner with all the beer you can drink is a hefty $15. The guys said it brings in three times more people.

    Wild Game Dinner has joined my ever lengthening list of community and church dinner must-dos.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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