They say that the sense of smell is the one most closely linked to memory, and I know it’s true whenever I catch a whiff of yeast blooming, raising or baking. I’m instantly whisked away to Saturday mornings at my Grandma Lois’ house 30 years ago, sitting in her comforting oven-warmed kitchen and devouring my favorite treat, freshly baked kolaches.
Kolaches are a Czech pastry, but Grandma Lois wasn’t Czech; she was half-Swedish and half-Irish. But having grown up cooking for the farm crew on her family’s farm, she could cook or bake anything with ease. She was the perfect person to preserve and pass along my Great Grandma Vala’s secret kolache recipe from “the old country.” Continue reading
I’m so happy to finally post something dumpling-ish on this blog, and this is the perfect recipe. In Nebraska we have a fast food chain called RUNZA – the term “runza” is actually trademarked by the company, which is ridiculous because they didn’t invent the runza. A runza is a Russian meat pie made with yeasted dough, and it can be made in a variety of different shapes with different savory meat fillings. From Russia, the runza’s popularity spread to Germany, and they were brought to the Midwestern region of the United States by German immigrants.
Most Nebraskans know runzas as delicious fast food, but thanks to my Grandma Hazel, my family knows what a non-fast-food, from-scratch runza is supposed to taste like. I was so happy when my Aunt passed this recipe for grandma’s runzas along to me. My family might not be German or Russian, but we are 100% Nebraskan, and to me, this is Nebraska comfort food at its best.