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Bierocks among popular food booths

Staff writer

For 13 years, Marion High School Booster Club has served bierocks to hungry Art in the Park visitors on a massive scale. Saturday morning, Marion Elementary School kitchen will be filled with the sound of rolling pins on metal countertops.

Volunteers will gather to turn 180 pounds of flour, 175 pounds of hamburger, and 80 pounds of cabbage into about 1,000 bierocks. That is enough to line them up end-to-end from one end zone to the other at the football field.

Bierocks are rolls stuffed with a mixture of hamburger, cabbage, and other ingredients. Immigrants brought the recipe to the United States.

Cooks Terry Cochran and Penny Antoszyk met to prepare a small practice batch Saturday. Cochran began helping cook bierocks for the sale in 2004. Antoszyk started in 2008.

The fundraiser began in 1994, but it was originally to start local television station MCTV, Cochran said. The booster club took over the fundraiser in 1996.

It raises somewhere between $2,500 and $2,700 after expenses. The booster club’s biggest expense each year is supporting after prom party.

Friday evening, volunteers will cook the hamburger and cabbage in two batches. Previously the mixture was cooked in a single batch, but it was too difficult to stir, Antoszyk said.

The filling also includes salt, pepper, onion, and cheese sauce. Cheese sauce binds the mixture together, making it easier to form, Cochran said.

Volunteers will arrive at 6:30 a.m. Saturday to assemble bierocks. The dough recipe uses 180 pounds of flour, 132 eggs, 10 pounds of sugar, and 18 sticks of margarine.

It is important to roll the dough thin enough before assembling a bierock, or else it will be too doughy, Cochran said.

She estimates 30 volunteers work in the kitchen during the morning. There are six cooks per shift — five assembling bierocks and one mixing dough.

The booster club stand sells out every year, usually by 1 p.m. Cochran thinks convenience contributes to bierocks’ popularity at Art in the Park.

“It takes so long to make them at home,” she said. “When you’re done, you say, ‘I’m not going to do that again for a while.’”

Bierocks sell for $3.50 each or $35 per dozen at the booster club stand. Ketchup, mustard, and soft drinks will be available.

This is Cochran’s last year leading the bierock-making. Antoszyk plans to lead the volunteer cooks in 2010.

“I hope they keep doing it for years to come,” Cochran said. “It’s a lot of work, but everybody has fun.”

Last modified Sept. 17, 2009

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