Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota’s church dinner season underway August 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

TIS THE SEASON of church dinners.

Diners dish up at last year's fall dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown.

Diners dish up at the 2011 dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown.

Although I’ve never partaken in the one at The Church of the Nativity in Cleveland, I’ve attended plenty of others in southern Minnesota. Church dinner food is typically homemade, the draw for me, along with the fellowship.

If I wasn’t already busy this Sunday, August 4, I’d head west to Cleveland, which sits along State Highway 99 six miles east of St. Peter, to this Catholic church dinner and festival.

The beautiful chicken dinner sign I spotted along Minnesota Highway 99 on the edge of Cleveland.

The beautiful chicken dinner sign I spotted along Minnesota Highway 99 on the edge of Cleveland.

Since I can’t review the food, I’ll award these dinner promoters five stars for creative and eye-catching roadside signage.

To learn more about the dinner, I checked out the church website (click here) where the meal is tagged as “Men’s Chicken Dinner & Parish Festival.” Now I’m certain women and children are welcome. I assume the “men’s dinner” means the men are cooking the advertised “fabulous broasted chicken.”

In addition, baked potatoes, creamy cucumbers, baked beans, pie and beverages will be served. Homemade pie. The best.

Food will be served from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Mass starts at 8:30 a.m.

My meal at last year's Trinity dinner, minus the bread and cranberries. I had cake for dessert, too.

My food plated at the annual Trinity North Morristown church dinner.

Besides food, the festival offers your usual games, beer garden (this was an initial surprise for me, a Lutheran, to discover beer at a church event) and silent auction. The Church of the Nativity also has an antique car show and a coffee bar, neither of which I’ve seen at a parish fest.

Next year this event is going on my list of must-attend church festivals.

FYI: I’d recommend attending these three church dinners:

Click here to read about the Veseli Ho-Down, Most Holy Trinity’s annual parish festival and dinner. This event is held in late August. Great food, music, games and more.

Click here to read about the annual church dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, rural North Morristown. The dinner is served in mid-October in the church basement. Excellent, excellent food.

Click here to read about the Strawberry Festival held each June at Moland Lutheran Church, rural Kenyon.

Also, check out the website, Church Cuisine of Minnesota, for stories and photos of other church dinners.

HAVE YOU ATTENDED an outstanding church dinner and/or festival? if so please share in a comment to this post.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Claiming a prairie sunset February 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:10 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

MY HEART BELONGS to my native prairie. Always has, always will.

Even after three decades away from southwestern Minnesota, I remain connected to the sky and to the land, to the place that shaped me as a person, a writer, a photographer.

In an environment as stark as the prairie, you notice details.

Even in southeastern Minnesota, where I've lived for three decades, expanses of prairie exist like this sunset scene.

Even in southeastern Minnesota, where I’ve lived for three decades, expanses of prairie exist like this sunset scene.

And so, on a recent Saturday, as my husband and I traveled south and east from Cleveland to Kilkenny (that’s in southeastern Minnesota, not Ohio and Ireland), I observed daylight evolve into evening, the sun slipping in a slim band of rosy peach across the horizon.

In that moment my soul yearned for the land I left at age 17, the prairie, the place of my heart.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling