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Published: Sunday, 11/25/2012

COMMENTARY

You don't have to be Polish to love Wigilia

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE COLUMNIST

Christmas Eve comes early to the Polish community here as two different groups will hold traditional Wigilia events in the next couple of weeks.

Wigilia is the Polish celebration of the night before Christmas, mixing religious traditions with secular. The Christmas tree is lighted, prayers are said, carols sung, presents exchanged.

And in the midst of it all is dinner — a big, big dinner. Meatless, but big. Sometimes they are seven courses, sometimes they are nine. And sometimes, as is the case of the Wigilia dinner sponsored by the Polish-American Community of Toledo, there are 11.

The annual celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 2 in the Kelly Room at Blessed Sacrament Parish, 4227 Bellevue Rd. And on the menu will be dill pickle soup, boiled potatoes, pickled herring, fried fish, pierogi (of course), beans and sauerkraut, fruit compote, babka (a sweet bread), placek (a coffee cake), beets, nuts and honey, and chrusciki (fried cookies in the shape of angel wings).

We can neither confirm nor deny reports that the event will be graced by the presence of a Certain Someone who, rumor has it, is known to be jolly and not overly thin.

Naturally, you don’t have to be Polish to attend.

The cost is $20, $15 for members of PACT. To reserve a seat, call 419-410-6167.

Meanwhile, Saints Adalbert & Hedwig Church will also have a Wigilia dinner on Dec. 15 after the 4 p.m. Mass. As an added bonus, the church’s Altar Rosary Society will be holding a bake sale that day from 1-6 p.m. and Dec. 16 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., with plenty of Polish desserts to buy. Reservations for the church Wigilia dinner are at 419-509-8050, and it wouldn’t hurt to bring food to share with the other.

Gobble this

Thanksgiving has passed, but this is too good not to share.

Every year, Dorr Elementary School in the Springfield district asks its second graders how they would cook a turkey. The responses, as you can imagine (and as we have written in a previous column) are priceless. Here are two:

“There is 2 different ways to get a turkey. You can buy it at Krogers or go in the woods and get your own. I think should go to the woods and leave a trail of minimarshmallow to you. Hide behind a bush and then when you hear gobble gobble, jump out and put a paper bag over the turkey. Make sure there’s holes in the bag, little ones, so the turkey can breath but not escape.

“The best way to do it is first pluck out all its feathers then kill it. Most people have a watermelon knife, so stabbing it is the best way to kill it. If its big, wash it off in a kiddie pool whith hand sanitizer to get all the germs off. We don’t know where those turkys go at night.

“Put the turky in a big, rectangle pan. Put stuffing that has little green meatballs inside the turkey to make it really, really good. Pour 3 drops of tomato juice on top. Cook it in the oven at 2 degrees for 20 minutes. When its done you take a fork and taste it to see if it’s good.”

And the other one:

“I saw a turkey in somebody’s yard when I was on bus 4. They had a lot of stuff on their front porch. You can get a gun and shoot it. Put it in the shower and use dish soap to wash it. Then shave off the feathers with a new razor because you don’t want blood and feathers on your razor.

“Take a knife and cut out the bones. Pour 5 jars of spaghetti sause inside the turkey and put 9 shakes of pepper on top. Put it in the frigerator then when your ready to eat it put it in the oven for 9 minutes at 80 degrees. It would be easier if you just go to a fancy restaurant and buy a turkey cooked. It would cost about $800.00.”

Mrs. Holiday

Toledo native Marie Louise Ludwig keeps her Christmas tree decorated and lit every day of the year, but that’s not why she has just been named Mrs. Holiday by Taste of Home magazine.

Ms. Ludwig became Mrs. Holiday because her Holiday Snow Globe Cake was judged best by the magazine’s editors, who chose from a list of 100 contestants that had been narrowed down by their readers.

Now living in Phoenixville, Pa., Ms. Ludwig is apparently known for her year-round Christmas spirit as well as her coconut raspberry cake. It was this cake, inspired by her grandmother’s recipe, that she baked and decorated for the season to win the award.

Along with the award and her exposure in the magazine as its Ambassador of the Holidays, she also took home a cool $50,000.

Cookies

For the next month, cookie sales will be as common as snowflakes, if not more so.

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral is getting into the act on Dec. 15 with its fifth annual Cookie Walk in the church hall, 3754 Woodley Rd. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the Fellowship of St. John the Divine will be selling what they call traditional and ethnic cookies by the pound. Soup and coffee will also be available — just in case you need something with which to wash down all those cookies.

For information, call 419-475-7054.

Items for Morsels may be submitted up to two weeks before an event to food@theblade.com



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