Morgendämmerung, oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer theologirt.
Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit id es semper esse puerum.
Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Homo sum humani nihil a me alienum puto.
Semper idem sed non eodem modo.


Verbum domini manet in aeternum. The word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25, quoting Isaiah 40:6,8. Motto of the Lutheran Reformation.

Fayth onely justifieth before God. Robert Barnes, DD The Supplication, fourth essay. London: Daye, 1572.

Lord if Thou straightly mark our iniquity, who is able to abide Thy judgement? Wherefore I trust in no work that I ever did, but only in the death of Jesus Christ. I do not doubt, but through Him to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Robert Barnes, DD, before he was burnt alive for "heresy", 30 July 1540.

What is Luther? The doctrine is not mine, nor have I been crucified for anyone. Martin Luther, Dr. theol. (1522)

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20 November 2007

What's a Runza?

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,

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.


L P Cruz said...

P. E.

aha, not so hard to make. When I was stationed in Venezuela, Caracas, the closest I can make of it is that the Runza may be a bit like arepas.

I am very sure we can make it. I will also ask the folk in church too.

Thanks. We can use some merienda (snack).


Lutheran Lucciola said...

Hey, this Runza sounds fantastic!

I'm going to learn how to make them.

L P Cruz said...


The missus has got the ingredients but she wants some photos too.


Past Elder said...

I think there may be some pix in the further articles linked to on Wikipedia -- if not the textual articles, the corporate site for Runza the chain.

Generally here they are rectangular, but some of the homemade ones I've had are square.

Call it an adiaphoron!

L P Cruz said...

Ok I found some pics. If it is round or square, it is an adiaphora, so long as at the core we got the mince beef with cabbage and such, no?

Have you heard of picadillos? I am just thinking we can Filipinize this dish.

Will let you know.


L P Cruz said...


The missus got it done and I enjoyed it last night. We could not get the glossy look on the bread but it reminds me of "empanadas". The runza is delicious! Thanks for depositing to me another idea.

We have to work on doing good on the dough though.

If you visit me in Melbourne, I will take you to Hobart (Tasmania) and we will much on what they call there scallop pie.

Aussies are big on meat pie type dishes.


Anonymous said...

You should come to Nebraska. There is a fast food chain called Runza where they serve runzas with different types of ingredients as well as burgers, fries, and homemade onion rings.

L P Cruz said...


I hope to stop by Nebraska and have a Runza eat out with PE, hopefully this year - my dad and uncle are in CA.

I look forward to it.