To celebrate 30 years of St. Urho protecting the city of Menahga and Spirit Lake, a mojakka cook-off is being added to the festivities.
What is mojakka?
It's a Finnish-American soup that typically includes some sort of meat and potatoes. Like chili, there is plenty of room for creativity.
Priscilla Harvala, of Menahga, introduced the idea of a mojakka cook-off for this year's St. Urho Day celebration, March 16-18 in Menahga.
She lived in Cloquet for many years and was a judge for many mojakka cook-offs there.
"I moved here in 2008 and was thinking we need to have a contest here," she said.
The VFW serves mojakka each year during the St. Urho celebration but a contest "is so much more fun," Harvala said.
The mojakka potluck/cook-off is from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18 at the Menahga Senior Center.
Those who enter the mojakka cook-off are asked to list the primary ingredients because there are many varieties. The three categories for judging include fish (kalamojakka), beef (lihamojakka) and other (pork, chicken, venison or any other meat).
Also, organizers would like a brief description of how each cook came up with the particular recipe: Was it handed down from a relative or friend? Did it come from a cookbook or website? Was the recipe modified to suit tastebuds?
All food must be prepared in a non-licensed kitchen and cooks must provide a minimum of 2.5 gallons (10 quarts) of mojakka. One quart will be reserved for judging and the remainder will be available for tasting by the public.
Contestants must provide their own electrically heated serving kettle, roaster pan or crockpot, a minimum 12-foot extension cord, ladles, aprons and any other equipment directly related to serving food. Side dishes may be served to the public but will not be a part of the judging. Organizers will provide tables, electricity, as well as bowls, spoons, napkins, bread, butter, water, lemonade and coffee.
Judges this year include Harvala, Jan Jackola, Catherine Hill and a city official still to be determined.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Harvala said. "I can hardly wait for the tasting."
The public will also vote for a people's choice award. Awards will be announced at 2:15 pm. Sunday, March 18.
The winner of each category and the people's choice award will receive $100 in Menahga Bucks.
"I think this will be a great addition," Harvala said. "Maybe Menahga could become the mojakka capitol."
There is no entry fee, although a contribution to the Menahga Area Historical Society and Museum is welcomed.
Other St. Urho events will be held throughout the weekend.
Friday, March 16
7 p.m. - Opening ceremonies, crowning of the king and 1ueen, St. Urho honorees and a variety show at the Menahga School gymnasium.
4-8 p.m. - Corned beef, cabbage and meatballs at the VFW.
8:30 p.m. - Live music at the VFW.
Saturday, March 17
7-11 a.m. - Pancake breakfast at the Menahga Senior Center.
9 a.m. - Volleyball at the Menahga School gymnasium.
Noon - Changing of the Guards at the St. Urho Statue.
12:20 p.m. - Parade starts at the Cottage House Café.
12:30-3:30 p.m. - Dog sled rides for kids at the high school football field.
1 p.m. - Barstool racing and KOLF on Spirit Lake.
3 p.m. - Bingo and meat raffle at the VFW.
5-8 p.m. - Mojakka by the Menahga Lions at the VFW.
8:30 p.m. - DJ music at VFW.
Sunday, March 18
Noon-2 p.m. - First annual mojakka potluck/cook-off at Menahga Senior Center.
For more information go to www.menahga.com.