Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Serving up kraut at a Minnesota “feed” July 7, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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HOW DO YOU DEFINE feed?

In Minnesota, the word can typically be defined as an event in which large numbers of people are served food by a group of volunteers aiming to raise money for a cause. Not exactly a Webster dictionary concise definition.

This sign is posted at the intersection of U.S. Highway 14 and Minnesota State Highway 4 in downtown Sleepy Eye.

This sign is posted at the intersection of U.S. Highway 14 and Minnesota State Highway 4 in downtown Sleepy Eye.

Often the featured food reflects the ethnicity of the region. Take, for example, the Eagle’s Kraut Feed slated for tomorrow at the Servicemen’s Club in Sleepy Eye. This southwestern Minnesota community has a strong German heritage. That would explain the Kraut Feed menu of all you can eat sauerkraut, dumplings, mashed potatoes and gravy, Landjagers (sausage), applesauce, bread and coffee and/or milk.

Even though I’m 100 percent German and do eat sauerkraut, I don’t like dumplings or sausage. But apparently a lot of folks do.

Downtown Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, photographed on July 2.

Downtown Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, photographed on July 2.

While searching online for info about the July 8 Kraut Feed, I also read that the Servicemen’s Club hosted a Ring Bologna Feed in February and a Bullhead Feed in March. I’m not surprised. I grew up in the county next to Sleepy Eye and my mom cooked both. I wasn’t fond of either ring bologna or bullheads. But those locally-sourced (from our farm and nearby School Grove Lake) cheap foods fed our family of eight.

Sleepy Eye's Del Monte plant, located on the west edge of town along U.S. Highway 14.

Sleepy Eye’s Del Monte plant, located on the west edge of town along U.S. Highway 14.

In August, Sleepy Eye will serve free buttered sweet corn at its annual Buttered Corn Days. That event connects to the local Del Monte company, a community fixture since 1920. According to the Del Monte website, the Sleepy Eye plant “produces the largest case quantities of peas and corn for the company, planted by over 300 different growers on more than 26,000 acres.” That and the employment of up to 400 seasonal employees are good enough reasons to host a free community sweet corn feed.

TELL ME: What types of feeds are popular in your area? Or what is the most unusual feed you’ve come across and/or attended?

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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26 Responses to “Serving up kraut at a Minnesota “feed””

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    The kraut feeds sound absolutely delicious. As does the sweet corn. I’ve have been patiently waiting for the local farmers to appear street-side with truckloads of sweet corn.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    LUV: kraut, dumplings, sausage, corn(!), etc. Marginal on bullheads (have had it prepared wonderfully and it was very good but wouldn’t go searching for it…..just sayin’!) The best kraut (growing up) is eaten from the can with a fork!!!! LOL!!!!!!

  3. Boy does your post bring back the memories – ate all that growing up and even made kraut (the house smelled for days). I did not last a full day in the cream corn division with I tried to work for Green Giant – the smell basically did me in. I have not really delved into the food festivals here – seafood is a key food for festivals here though. I have family in Sleepy Eye and have not been in that area in many years. I do not think some people realize all the food industry in MN unless you are from there. My parents took my nephews on a tour of Hormel a few years back. Now I am hungry – ha! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

    • I worked for The Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch for awhile back in the early 1980s. I think you’re right in that many people don’t realize how many food industries exist in small Minnesota communities. I assume you worked at the Montgomery plant? Good for you for giving it a go.

    • You may know of my family name (Duscher). Yes the Montgomery plant – between the safety video (dealing with the big cans) and then the smell – I could not handle it.

      • I don’t recognize that name. I worked there for only six months before moving on to the Mankato Free Press.

        You tried. I think it would be a difficult job. I remember a cousin working corn pack and waiting every day for the announcement on the radio to hear whether her shift would need to report for work. A whistle sounded before the radio spot announcement from Green Giant.

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    It is utterly impossible to drive-by a brat and kraut fund-raiser. Think about it, each brat for charity moves you that much closer to heaven.

  5. Kraut feed ha ha I’ve never tried it but I knew what you were talking about right away

  6. randy Says:

    Interesting to note in Wisconsin that would be a brat fry.

  7. Norma Says:

    My mother-in-law used to make sauerkraut. I couldn’t stomach it. I liked dumplings, and sausage, though. Here in our area, Bar-B-Q is really big. Also Mexican food is also big. We get the real stuff here. There used to be a restaurant that specialized in German cuisine, but recently went out of business.

  8. Jackie Says:

    I love the term “feed” , and yes we all know here in Minnesota what that means. I guess I think of the country church feeds! I will have to check into that sweet corn feed…sounds yummy!


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