Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I grew up on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids, MI.  Until recently, I thought the whole Westside was Polish except for my family.  Now I have learned there is/was a large Lithuanian population North of Leonard St.  St. Peter and St. Paul is the church that they built.  One of my dearest friends from high school, I recently found out is Dutch-Lithuanian.  See, you are never too old to learn new things. 

The Westside is a testimony to the faith of the immigrants who settled on the West side of the Grand River.  They put their hard earned money into building beautiful churches.  There are church steeples every few blocks.  There is even an incredible Basilica.  In fact, the area is now called Steepletown.

Along with the churches they built, the immigrants also built "halls" or clubs where they could go to speak their own language and talk with people who had a common background and interests.  St. George's Hall was built by the Lithuanians across the street from St. Peter and St. Paul's.

Since our 50th high school reunion last fall, my classmates and I are like the immigrants.  We have started meeting at least once a month to be with people who speak our "language" or in other words, who have experienced life and are pushing into another decade.  As Dave, a classmate, says, "Be there or be square."

"Roll out the barrel, we'll have a barrel of fun!"

One of our gatherings this month was at St. George's Hall for Burgers and Kapusta.  On Thursday nights, St. George's is where you want to be.  We had a wonderful time with lots of laughter and gooooood food.

The price is right too.

Once a week the hall is open to the public for their "Barb's Almost Famous Burger" and Kapusta.  I swear it was the best burger I think I have ever had and the Kapusta was wonderful.

Lithuanian-style Kapusta.

Every country in Europe, and probably every family has a recipe for Kapusta.  In the Lithuanian-style Kapusta, sauerkraut, fresh shredded cabbage, onions, and bacon are simmer together.  The longer it simmers the better it gets.  Barb, the cook at St. George's, understands all she knows about cooking Kapusta.

Isn't this the ultimate hamburger?

This is Bonnie.  She and I didn't know each other in high school, but we are having a ball getting to know each other now.  Her sister makes the family Kapusta and soon she is going to teach Bonnie and I how to make it.  It is the type of recipe that no one writes down, but then the next generation wonders how did Grandma make her Kapusta as it was the best.  Recipe coming to the blog so watch for it.

Bonnie is beautiful and extremely funny.  She always has a great joke or a good tale to tell.  She is beautiful, funny, and she brings homemade cake!

Bonnie's Mexican Wedding Cake.  The cake has no shortening or oil in it so you can serve it slathered with Cream Cheese Frosting or top it with no fat aerosol whipping cream or cool whip.  We had it with cool whip this time.

I like the way Bonnie takes her cake when she is serving it away from home.  She makes a 9x13-inch cake which is easier than making cupcakes.  Then she cuts the cake and puts it into cupcake wrappers.  It makes transport easy and serving easy too. 

Tom's cousin from Santa Fe enjoying the company my classmate, Sue, and her dinner.

Bonnie's recipe coming to the blog soon.  I am buying the ingredients today.

St. George's is calling me back.

I, of course, have my burger topped with everything. 


  1. Barb's burgers are on Tuesdays as well! :)

  2. Thank you very much for letting me know that Barb's Burgers are available on Tuesdays too. Even with this terrible heat, I would like one of her burgers right now!!!