Marshall V. King
Dining A La King
Happy Dyngus Day.
That means that people will gather Monday, April 1, at several locations in Elkhart and Goshen to eat Polish food, drink beer and express gratitude that Lent is over.
For the 33rd year, men will be cooking at the Knights of Columbus, 112 E. Lexington Ave., Elkhart. Max Yeakey is overseeing a crew making polish sausage, sweet and sour cabbage, pierogi, kluski noodles and pickled eggs.
Crimaldi’s, 117 W. Jackson Blvd., Elkhart, will open at 5 p.m. and serve sausage sandwiches and dinners, according to employee Sandra Coomer.
The Oasis, 702 W. Lincoln Ave, Goshen, will have polish sausage sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs. The eggs, as always, are a dime each or two for a quarter. The food will be available at lunch and dinner.
Dyngus Day is a Polish holiday the Monday after Easter celebrated annually in a few spots in the United States. Northern Indiana is one of them.
It’s not as widely celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day, but the premise is the same. People who are Polish are a bit prouder on Dyngus Day and will patiently explain how to say their last name which has more consonants than vowels. People who aren’t Polish will raise a glass to them and join in the fun.
People will tell stories, catch up and have a good time. You won’t get sunburned going to Dyngus Day in Elkhart like some of those folks who headed to Florida or other warmer climates this week. But you can get a plate of some good food. This is an annual tradition for many people. It’s often a political event, with those running for office trying to earn votes while you eat your sandwich.
The crew at the Knights will make 400 pounds of kielbasa from Charlie’s Butcher Block today. You could smell the garlic in the butcher shop last week as they made the sausage.
In addition, there are 250 pounds of cabbage, 100 pounds of onions and 15 gallons of pickled eggs serve today, Yeakey said. He ordered 1,200 pierogi to boil and slather in onions and butter. A dinner with a sandwich, pierog, egg, cabbage and noodles will cost $8 and items will be available a la carte, he said.
There isn’t an election this year in Indiana, which means we get to eat in peace. I’m happy about that, though I’ll have to get an emery board at the drugstore if I need one rather than from a candidate.
Going to the Knights is part of my post-Easter tradition. So is giving Yeakey a hard time for putting noodles in the cabbage. (I say they don’t belong. He says people like them. We laugh and go on.) Depending on who else is in the kitchen, the banter is as thick as the sweet and sour gravy that goes on the cabbage.
It’s been a long winter. Spring may actually be emerging. The weather may actually be getting warm enough for green things to start sprouting from the ground.
I don’t expect Monday to be packed at Dyngus Day. It’s spring break and people are traveling with their families. And non-political years tend to be slower as well.
That’s my observation. I could be wrong. After all, I’m a little groggy after all that butter and pork fat. But am I ever happy after lunch.
If you miss Monday’s food, the Knights of Columbus from Our Lady of the Lake Church, 24832 U.S. 12 E., Edwardsburg, Mich., will have the second annual Polish Dinner from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in the church social hall. The dinner will include chicken, polish sausage, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet and sour cabbage, green beans, kluski noodles, dinner rolls, dessert and refreshments. The cost will be $8 for adults, $4 for children 5-11 years old, and no charge for children 4 and younger.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via Facebook. His blog is at www.blogs.etruth.com/diningalaking and you can subscribe so that you’re notified every time he posts.