LP Cruz, author of the excellent blog Extra Nos, asked in a combox to an earlier post what is this Runza to which I referred.
So here's the answer. A runza is a rectangular pocket of dough bread filled with beef, onion, seasonings and cabbage that is baked. It originates with the Volga German immigrants to the United States. They can be made at home according to variations on the theme, and there is a commercial Runza fast food chain begun in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1949 and now a regional chain.
When I first came to this area in 1983 it was to Lincoln and shortly thereafter someone suggested we go to a Runza so I could get introduced to this local delicacy. I thought it sounded absolutely grotesque but went along, and converted from the first bite. They are fabulous!! Personally, I like the cheese Runza best. And the fries and onion rings you can get for sides are better than any other fast food chain too. IMHO of course. And their burgers are better than the others too! You just can't lose going to Runza!! I've lived in Omaha since 1991 and we are well stocked with Runzas all across the metro area.
Wikipedia has further material on runzas, the food itself and the chain. The place to start is the main article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runza
You might read up on the Volga Germans themselves, the Wolgadeutsche, or "Russian Germans" as they are sometimes called here. It all comes from Catherine the Great of Russia -- who was herself a German -- who invited Europeans to settle in Russia to create a sort of buffer zone for the Russians themselves. A fascinating, and rocky, history.
So how does Runza turn up on Lutheran blog? Well, some of the Volga Germans are Lutheran. But the real reason is Lutheran Lucciola, the subtitle of whose blog is "Stories of Transformation and Cabbage" -- a reference from this non-German convert to the German in origin Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (like myself) to the use of cabbage in German cooking.
I gotta tell ya, if you're looking for German cooking with cabbage, a runza is IT!! After writing this I'd head straight to the nearest one myself, except it's closed at this hour. Drag.
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