Sauerkraut dinner

Norm Wright and Ken Hanson dish up sauerkraut and ham hocks in February 1996 at St. James Catholic Church.

I can't let a year go by without giving a plug to my friends in the sauerkraut and pork hocks crew at the old St. James Catholic Church just off Regent Street.

This Sunday is the annual pork hocks and sauerkraut feed at the church (now called the Good Shepherd Parish since St. James' consolidation with St. Joseph a few years back).

It all starts at 11:30 a.m. and runs until 4:30 in the afternoon. The kraut, none better, is from an old recipe handed down by the late Dane County Sheriff Franz Haas. His son John and a bunch of his friends have been slicing up hundreds of cabbage heads, packing them in barrels along with caraway seeds and brown sugar and letting it all ferment for about two months.

Sunday they'll marry those many gallons of kraut with huge pork hocks or, if you have an aversion to deliciously fatty hocks, polish sausage or wieners, while a cadre of church volunteers fills your plate with creamed corn, mashed potatoes, rolls and butter in the church's basement.

John and his compatriots have been doing this every year since Franz died back in 1989. The longtime county sheriff was known for taking along kraut and pork hocks on the campaign trail, asking folks for their vote and then handing them a plate of the specialty. He was quite successful.

Al Schwoegler, one of Haas' colleagues, provides German music and runs the little bar set up in a corner featuring, of course, German beer.

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Some 500-plus attend the annual affair, which costs $10 for adults, $5 for kids. The money goes to hep pay for church programs.

Take a break Sunday and give it a try.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel

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Dave is editor emeritus of The Capital Times.