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MARILYN HAGERTY: Polish fare alive and well in Minto

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A sweet duck soup called czarnina and potato dumplings known as kluski are being prepared for the ninth annual Polish Food Festival Saturday afternoon in Minto, N.D.

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The homemade Polish sausage called kielbasa is ready and waiting.

The people in this community about 30 miles north of Grand Forks on U.S. Highway 81 pitch in and work together. Many of them are descendents of Polish settlers in the area. And they have been known to give each other nicknames such as “Rooster,” “Mud Jack” and “Tork.”

While shades of the “old country” have faded, the Polish around Minto keep their heritage alive with food. And with Polish dancers who will be showing up at 4 p.m. during the celebration that runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Francis Kilichowski, who lives on a nearby farm, has been eating duck soup as long as he can remember. He knows well the process of making it — right down to the mixing in of fruit and adding thickening until the soup has the consistency of real, runny gravy.

Carol Gerzewski is one of the women grinding raw potatoes and mixing in eggs and flour to make a dough of the right consistency for the dumplings, billed as kluski. They will finish them off in the Community Hall where she says there is a fantastic big mixer.

When people gather Saturday, they also will find potato pancakes and Polish sausage. There will be cabbage rolls known as golabki. Kapusta will be made of sauerkraut and pork ribs.

People of Minto say the Polish Food Festival is a big event because people like to get together and remember their heritage. They like to show it to everyone.

Home show

The weekend arrives with a Grand Am basketball tournament as well as a bowling tournament in Grand Forks..... The UND baseball team has gone to the Bismarck to play games in the sun... And the football team will be practicing on a field cleared of snow... With a spring game coming up at the end of April.... The annual Home Design and Garden Show runs today, Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Alerus Center.... Devoted hockey fans are on their way to Cincinnati on a mission to beat Wisconsin tonight....

Ask Marilyn

Q. What’s up with the medical and law students this weekend?

A. Well, they are feeling their oats. Or something. Anyway UND law students and their cohorts from the University of Manitoba are playing in a hockey tournament with UND med students at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. The games start tonight at 8 on the Olympic Ice at the Ralph and finish Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. on the main ice at the Ralph. I can’t decide whether to pull for the lawyers or the medical crew. You never know when you will need a good lawyer or doctor.

Q. Who was John Little?

A. He was a rather eccentric, but brilliant faculty member at UND who fostered the annual UND Writer’s Conference. Many around here have fond memories of him driving around all winter with the top of his venerable roadster down.... His memory will be honored at a survivors party Saturday evening at Sanders 1907 restaurant.

Darlene and Barry

Cheerful persons of the week: Darlene Johnson and Barry Medd.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or (701) 772-1055.

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