Thursday, October 10, 2002

Sauerkraut lovers welcome

Waynesville church readies its specialty: cabbage rolls

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Amy Zimmer and Darlene Henz roll cabbage rolls.
(Glenn Hartong photos)
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WAYNESVILLE — This weekend, the taste of “sauer” is sweet, and cabbage is king.

Waynesville celebrates its 33rd Ohio Sauerkraut Festival, an event that typically draws more than 200,000 cabbage-lovers to this Warren County village.

Since the festival's early days, sauerkraut has spiced up such traditional treats as doughnuts, pie, brownies and bread. It has been paired with mashed potatoes to make German Sundae and sprinkled on pizza as a tangy topping.

[photo] Dave Moore checks the progress of the rolls in one of 30 slow cookers.
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But it's St. Augustine Catholic Church's cabbage rolls that bring many people back year after year. The church group cooks and sells 12,000 annually, an effort that requires 4,000 pounds of cabbage leaves, 1,425 pounds of ground beef, 400 gallons of sauerkraut, 300 pounds of rice and 900 hours of labor.

“We start work Sunday morning after Mass and keep going through Thursday,” said parishioner Dave Collins. “On Friday, we rest. Then we start at 5 a.m. Saturday of the festival.”

St. Augustine's social hall becomes cabbage central for the week. Each work session fills 30 slow cookers with two layers of cabbage rolls nestled in a bed of kraut and tomato sauce.

What: Ohio Sauerkraut Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown Waynesville
Getting there: From Cincinnati, take I-71 north to South Lebanon/Lebanon exit (Ohio 48 north) and continue to intersection with U.S. 42. Continue on U.S. 42 north to Waynesville. Signs indicate parking and shuttle bus locations. Handicapped parking is available.
Information: 897-8855.

“Years ago, we started out small, only making about 2,000 rolls,” said Amy Zimmer . “We borrowed the cookers from anyone that had them. When we saw it was going to be an annual thing we started buying the cookers.”

Once the cabbage rolls are cooked, they are kept in a refrigerated truck until needed. A delivery crew brings small quantities to the church booth during the festival, where they are warmed and served.

“People tell us, "It's one of the things I come to the festival for,' ” said Mrs. Zimmer.

Grocer Ron Kronenberger keeps the group supplied with ingredients.

“I deliver the cabbage the Thursday before they start,” he said. “This year we were concerned about the size of the cabbages because of the dry weather. You know, you have to have big enough leaves to roll. But although they were smaller than usual, they were adequate.”

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