Biennial Swedish eatfest is a cut (or two, or three) of heaven


If we leave inspired from a biennial Swedish Smörgasbord during Bethel Lutheran Church nearby Avoca, about 40 miles north of Abilene, it’s your possess fault. The eventuality was hosted Feb. 10, 2018.
Greg Jaklewicz

Not that we am skinny, though if we ate each day during a Swedish Smörgasbord, I’d demeanour like a sumo wrestler who’s figure skating in a Geico commercial.

Since 1962 — initial each year and now each other year — folks are invited to a extract in a fundraising feast at Bethel Lutheran Church in Jones County.

Out in a country? Well, we take farm-to-market roads from Abilene to get there, withdrawal a lights of downtown Avoca in a distance.

If we don’t go hungry, don’t go. This is about eating a tiny of this, some of that, a tiny of this, another helping of that, maybe usually a bit some-more of this … and not interlude until you’re vocalization Swedish.

I attended my initial smorgasbord, that is Swedish for “eat some-more than we routinely do,” in a early 1980s. Back then, we was uninformed out of college and a editor of a Stamford American, a weekly newspaper. To enhance my farming life experience, John and Taimi Wendeborn took me to a eatfest, that is hold in a groundwork of a church. 

Holy mom of Swedish meatballs it was good. 

(This cooking is so authentic we had to find how to use a “ö” on my keyboard; we don’t have an “a” with a dot over it.)

I did not go behind again, however, until this year’s event. Seems like each time we suspicion about a Smörgasbord, it was a wrong year or had usually been held.

It’s $25 a ticket, and those who know me good know we usually spend that much for a cooking during which all 4 in a family are fed. One person? we affianced to eat during slightest $24.99 value of food.

My mother and we assimilated a Larry “formerly a Answer Guy” Zelisko and his wife for a expostulate to a best once-a-year eatery in a center of nowhere in a Lower 48. Like some Catholic churches in a area, this church was built on donated land to offer farmers and ranchers, many of Swedish heritage.

I trust a stream church was started before World War II and finished afterward. 

About 30 years later, a Smörgasbord was started as a fundraiser.

There are 3 servings. We bought tickets to a latest serving, giving us some-more time to build an appetite.

Did we fear they’d run out of food? Ha! Running out of food during this eventuality is like a German biergarten going dry. Never will happen.

Basically, it’s a potluck cooking with a Swedish theme. 

For example, we was speedy to eat preserved herring. While some equipment are served in large containers, a herring is in a tiny dish. It’s not for everybody though when in Ericksdahl, eat as a Swedes eat.

You can fill adult on bread though that’s like stuffing adult on chips and salsa, afterwards carrying no room for a 3 immature chile enchiladas still entrance your way. But we ate a lot of bread, anyway.

And there’s this challenge. Youngsters lovable as they can be dressed in Swedish character (the girls have a rope of flowers on their heads) come to your list with desserts. You wish to make them happy to offer though after your 15th selection, we finally have to say, “Nej tack.”

That’s Swedish for “If we eat one more, I’m going to blow up.”

The dual winners for me were a meatballs, that were most improved than what we get during Ikea (and those are good) and a creamy immature bean casserole. If we had cellphones in 1962, we would have texted “OMG!”

The desserts, of course, were terrific. FYI, “S’mores” did not issue during a campfire though here. Asked if you’d like some-more dessert, we answer, “Yes, I’ll have s’more.”

We saw several folks from Abilene, and many aged friends from my Stamford days.

Yes, aged friends. we was there shutting in on 40 years ago, so Fareed Hassen and Jennifer Craig and a Wendeborns are a bit older. But Fareed, who operated a department store on a block (“Hassen’s has it!”) still looks great. He’s 88 now.

The second plea after eating, a initial being rising from your chair, is climbing a stairs to exit a church. You contingency take a refill of tea to stay watchful on a expostulate home.

There isn’t a Smörgasbord again until Feb 2020. That seems like forever, though we’ll have 3 years of President Trump underneath a belts and a Dallas Cowboys will be Super Bowl champs again.

Someone probably already is holding reservations, since we can’t usually travel in and wish to eat. That’s not a Swede way.

Meanwhile, take a Sunday expostulate to attend a use during Bethel. If it’s OK to be a Swede one night each dual years, we can be a Lutheran one morning. It’s a pleasing church with pleasing stained potion windows that speaks to faith, stability and community. 

Our foursome skeleton to do that someday soon.

Maybe we can time it when there’s a potluck after a service. A mini Smörgasbord.

Maybe a Wendeborns will have us over, or we can go to a Pizza Hut in Stamford and play Pac-Man, like we did in 1981.

Making this highway outing but eating a fill ain’t going to happen.


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