Nothing remotely gourmet about the 77th annual Verboort Sausage and Kraut Dinner. Held at the Visitation Catholic Church in Forest Grove, Oregon, by a Dutch-American community organization that’s been going strong since the pioneers, the dinner is part of a sausage extravaganza. They chop, stuff, and smoke over 17 tons of pork and beef each year for the sausage, and serve it up with mashed potatoes in sausage gravy, a mild sauerkraut, homegrown well-done beans, tart and sweet Gravenstein applesauce, a dinner roll, and a curiously good oniony cole slaw with macaroni pasta salad. It was familiar food, the stuff I grew up with, heavy on the carbs, seasoned very simply with salt and a tiny bit of pepper. Huge portions and all you can eat!
What in the heck am I doing in Forest Grove? I know, I know. Retrogrouch wanted to freeze his skinny little heinie off on a 100K bike ride, the Verboort Sausage Populaire Randonneur, so I came along, thinking I’d check out the soaking pool and work in the hotel.
And buy sausage, of course.
Five bucks a pound, bulk! And don’t forget the sauerkraut, these giant barrels filled with fermented goodness. They put the empties just outside the sauerkraut shack. I overheard an organizer marveling at how much more kraut they had sold that year. By the time I got there around 12:30, there was only one barrel left. The sequoia tree to the left, by the way, is from seeds one of the founders brought back from Californ-i-ay after the Gold Rush.
See? Real sequoias, courtesy of my nostrils.
I also briefly stopped in at
the church bazaar Ye old BAKE SHOP to chat with the old ladies selling baked goods, pickled vegetables, and candy. I really love old church ladies. There were some textile arts, too, but that’s largely lost on me.
Also lost on me: bingo in smoky tent, sad plant sale with gourds, beer garden that only served Bud and its derivatives (in Oregon? Really?) AND you had to take a bus there because, according to a fireman, the church didn’t want alcohol on the grounds (in Oregon? Really?), polkaesque Dutch music piped from the church on an endless loop, and the damn weather. Because a potholder just wasn’t going to keep my not-so-skinny heinie warm waiting for 100K to end, already.