Saturday, August 3, 2019

Folklorama: Slovak Poppy Seed Rolls and Virtiniai

Poppy Seed Rolls

Some of the pavilions you’ll find in this year’s Folklorama are new, reflecting the changes that have taken place in Winnipeg’s population.
Many of the older pavilions, some under a new name, are still with us.
Some pavilions, sadly, are no longer available.

In the June 16 Folklorama post I mentioned that the Mennonite Pavilion is just a memory now.
So are the Slovakia and the Lithuania Pavilions.
For different reasons these pavilions, as well as a few others over the years, have stopped.
We’ll take a look back at a few during this and the next post.

In 1980 the folks at the Slovakia Pavilion wished everyone Vitajte! - Welcome! - to their pavilion, Bratislava, which was in the parish church, Visitation of Our Lady Slovak Church at 353 Mountain Avenue.

The volunteers had displays of creative art, beautiful crystals, intricate embroidery, hand carvings and other crafts representative of Slovakia.
The Slovak Band performed folk music every evening while visitors enjoyed Slovak main dishes such as dumplings, halusky, pirohy and sausages, and desserts, which included Slovak cakes and pastries.
In addition to soft drinks, there were imported drinks - Slivovica, Palenka, Pizenske and Pivo - as well as domestic liquors and beers.

The parish, Visitation of Our Lady Slovak Church, is no longer with us.
Its history shows how immigrants come to Winnipeg, develop a strong community, and then disperse throughout the city, often in a matter of decades.
A Slovak-speaking priest arrived in Winnipeg in 1922. 
In 1937 the people began lobbying for a permanent Slovak-speaking priest.
Father John Rekem arrived in 1949 and construction of the church began in 1952.
The parish thrived at first, but then numbers dwindled as parishioners moved away.
The parish was closed in 1999 and the church is now the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

In 1980 the Lithuanian Community of Winnipeg said Kvieciame! (We are calling!) in their introduction to their pavilion, Vilnius, in which they displayed objects handcrafted from amber and woven fabrics which were heavily embroidered.
The Lithuanian Pavilion was located at St. Casimir Church at 432 Elgin Avenue.

Entertainment was provided by the Cleveland Octet, a Lithuanian singing group from Ohio, and by Winnipeg’s own Lithuanian Youth Folk Dancers.
Lithuanian music was provided by live musicians between performances.

As with the other pavilions from Eastern Europe, the food was the main attraction.
Guests enjoyed dinners of sausages with potatoes and sauerkraut, as well as Kaldunai topped with sauce, followed by Lithuanian pastries, cakes and cookies.
There were mixed drinks, beer, wine and honey mead, as well as coffee, tea milk and soft drinks.

Founded in 1953, St. Casimir, dedicated in 1956, served the needs of the Lithuanian immigrants in Winnipeg for many years.
The parish came to an end after the death of Msgr. Bertasius in 1999.
The church is now being used by Amazing Grace Ministry.
And so it goes...

About the new pavilions… the current Folklorama50 brochure now includes:
Argentina "Tango" Pavilion
Brazilian Pavilion
El Salvador Pavilion
Mexican Pavilion
Do visit them - they’re a fun and exciting way to learn about our neighbours!


Don't have yeast cakes? 
Substitute 1/4 ounce (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast for every ounce (or cake) of compressed yeast.

About the Virtiniai
The recipe in the program ended with the pinching.
Here’s where it comes in handy to live in the north end of Winnipeg. 
I got some neighbourly hints:
The dough dries out very fast. 
Work 1/4 of it at a time, covering the remainder with plastic wrap.

Drop each dumpling gently into boiling salted water, simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.
Serve with melted butter, sour cream and crispy bacon.

                        Slovak Poppy Seed Rolls

Place in a measuring cup
1 Cup evaporated milk
2 cakes yeast
Let stand until the yeast dissolves.

Sift into a large bowl
4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
the yeast / milk mixture.
Cut in 
1/2 pound lard or shortening
Add, 1 at a time
4 eggs
Beat well after every addition.
Place the dough in the refrigerator overnight.


Place in a small bowl
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons milk

Place in a medium bowl
1 pound ground poppy seeds
2 Cups sugar
1 Cup seedless raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine well, adding enough milk to make the filling the right consistency.

Roll the dough out 1/4 inch thick.
Spread the filling over the surface.
Roll like a jelly roll, and place on a cookie sheet.
Brush top with the egg / milk mixture.
Bake in a 350º F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until brown.


Meat Filling

Finely chop
2 large onions

Place in a large bowl
1 pound ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
3 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
the chopped onions
Blend well.


Place in a small bowl
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup water
Beat well.

Place in a medium bowl
3 Cups flour
Make a well in the centre.
the egg mixture
1 teaspoon oil
Stir, with a wooden spoon or by hand, until all is worked together into a dough.

Sprinkle flour over work area and roll dough 1/8 inch thick.
Shape the meat mixture into patties using a tablespoon of mixture for each pattie.
Place pattie on dough near edge about 1 inch apart.
Cut dough into long strips so there is a narrow edge on both sides of the patties.
Cut a second strip the same width and cover the patties.
Cut dough around patties with a small glass or cup.
Seal edges by pinching with fingers.

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