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Making dumplings in Abie

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 2:09 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - We caught up with a group of ladies who made 4,600 dumplings for an annual duck and ham dinner put on by their church each fall.

Dorothy Vavrina is one of the people preparing for the duck and ham dinner on October 3, 2021. “The dinner was started in the 1940′s,” Vavrina said. “They had meals before that, but it was in the 1940′s when the main dish became duck. Now it’s duck and ham. Right now, we are making the dumplings for that special day.”

Of course, dumplings are a Czech food favorite. And while making the dumplings, the more experienced cooks are hoping to pass along how to make them to the next generation. “It’s time consuming, but not hard. Anybody can learn how to make dumplings,” Vavrina said. “We started out with 270 pounds of potatoes, which was donated by one of our church members. We boil them and peel them the day before, and then rice them the night before. Then, we mix up the ingredients and put it all together. The ladies stand around the table, cut the dumplings into chunks and roll them into dumplings. We boil them again, cool them, and then freeze them. The day before the duck and ham dinner, they’ll be taken out of the freezers, thawed, and the day of the dinner they will be steamed, put in roasters, and then served to our guests.”

If you come to the duck and ham dinner on October 3, you will get a 1/4 duck, a piece of ham, sauerkraut, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, and kolaches. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic church.

“You know it’s a Czech tradition, making these dumplings,” Vavrina said. She says it’s a chance for the next generation to see what their ancestors did. “We just want to pass this along, and have a lot of fun doing it.”

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