Table For 8,000: An Oregon Community’s Epic Dinner

(cow calls) – [Narrator] On any given day this is the scene in Verboort,
a sleepy farming community with Dutch roots near Portland Oregon. (record scratches)
(folk music) And this is the scene at it’s
sausage and sauerkraut dinner, an annual fundraiser for
the Verboort parish school. Held the first Saturday in November, the dinner draws thousands
to this quiet corner of the Willamette Valley. – [Lawrence] Pandemonium,
it gets pretty crazy. – [Narrator] That’s Lawrence
Verboort, you heard right. Lawrence is related to the
Catholic priest the community is named after. Lawrence, like so many others
from in and around Verboort has been volunteering
at the dinner for years. In just one day, volunteers
now serve 8,000 meals. That doesn’t include day of bulk sausage and sauerkraut sales. What motivates them, tradition. The dinner began in 1934. – [Lawrence] We’re doing God’s work to help support our parish
and keep our school going. – [Narrator] And volunteers
aren’t just serving the food, they make almost everything at the dinner. – [Lawrence] We have a
five ingredient salad, our applesauce, then you get your sausage and your sauerkraut, potatoes and gravy. – [Narrator] To fill those 8,000 plates, volunteers make 400 gallons of applesauce, pack 57 barrels of sauerkraut,
stuff 15 tons of sausage. So how do they pull it off? Here are three Verboort
recipes for success. Find yourself enough Gravenstein apples to make 1600 quarts of applesauce. Clean, core and cut, cook
and puree the apples, add cinnamon and sugar and stir, repeat until you’ve got
enough applesauce to swim in. Take an actual truckload of cabbage heads, that’s about 12 tons, core, quarter and shred. Pack with salt into 55 gallon barrels and then wait seven to eight weeks. Roll up your sleeves
and put on a hair net, here’s how the sausage gets made. Chop, grind and add plenty of seasoning. – [Lawrence] We have approximately
30,000 pounds of meat that we will be making our
sausage out of, get good beat. – [Narrator] Stuff into
casings, hang and then smoke for eight hours. Finally, after months of
prep, it’s dinner time, a meal so good there’s
even a song about it. ♪ The holidays begin with sausage ♪ – [Narrator] Inside the
dining room and kitchen, a well greased machine hums along. Adults and kids alike help out. At the communal tables,
families, friends and strangers eat together. – [Lawrence] You get sat down
with somebody you don’t know and a lot of people sit
there and they chat, they meet somebody new, talk about things and have good times. – [Narrator] All the chatter gives the room a celebratory feel. You might even call it jolly. None of this would be
possible if it weren’t for one special ingredient, community. – [Lawrence] To get
everybody to get together, to pull together and to put
all these products together, that in itself is the big feat. We have something that’s unique. – [Narrator] It’s a feat
that year after year binds a community, fills
bellies and feeds the soul. ♪ The sausage is loud and clear ♪

About the author


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *