Having a Ball in Cleveland

We’re in Cleveland celebrating Thanksgiving with Souzz’s peeps, which has been a ton of fun. Being together with family is the main thing, of course, but our visit also gave me a chance to continue pursuing my regional food kick (ok, obsession).

One of the holiday treats here are sauerkraut balls, which were invented just down the road in Akron. It’s been said that Akron natives view sauerkraut balls the same way that Buffalo folks view Buffalo wings or that Philadelphia folks view Philly cheesesteak. And that’s saying something.

sauerkraut-ballsAt the moment, there isn’t a single sauerkraut ball in sight–but that’s because I ate all of them. I don’t even really like sauerkraut…but when in Rome, you have to do what Clevelanders do, or something like that.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving, where Cleveland proved to be the perfect place to celebrate. There were 17 of us, including Souzz’s mom and a lot of travelers from Souzz’s home town of Buffalo. The meal included turkey (of course), Paul’s mom’s stuffing, Souzz’s mom’s stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all of the usual trimmings. Oh, and we had a few laughs along the way, too (Naki Nakamoto and folding chairs came up a few times, but you kind of had to be there).

                   Our host sneaks a bite
       Souzz in the kitchen “annex,” which we used for the tortelli.
      Souzz’s sisters test the mashed potatoes, which is serious business.

As for the sauerkraut balls, we got them at Heinens, a family-owned supermarket with stores throughout Cleveland and Akron. Prep was super-easy, as they just needed to be baked for about 20 minutes. In addition to sauerkraut, the ingredients listed bread crumbs, egg, garlic, onion, parsley, and a bunch of other spices (some recipes even call for pork, which seems like cheating to me).

DSC_0717 DSC_0712 DSC_0721

DSC_0723When the sauerkraut balls came out of the oven, the nieces and nephews were sprawled on the floor and busy playing a board game (shouldn’t they have been snapchatting or arguing over some shared toy? what is the world coming to?). They grabbed a handful of sauerkraut balls each, and they were asking for more. This dish is definitely worth making again, maybe even from scratch.

It was a nice holiday with much to be thankful for, certainly extending far beyond a regional food from Akron. That said, it was still fun to serve up a sauerkraut-based dish that was gobbled up by everyone–even the younger crowd.

What’s next, sauerkraut flavored Pez?





3 thoughts on “Having a Ball in Cleveland

  1. Did your “host” really know what he was doing? Probably ate more geschnitzen than some people got on their plates!

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