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Mojakka cook-off is Sunday

Mojakka, a Finnish soup, typically includes meat and potatoes. Mojakka chefs get creative when making the traditional dish.

By Anna Erickson

The second annual mojakka potluck/cook-off is Sunday, March 17, coinciding with Menahga’s St. Urho Day celebration.

Mojakka is 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 a mojakka cook-off at last year’s St. Urho Day celebration.

She lived in Cloquet for many years and was a judge for many mojakka cook-offs there.

The VFW serves mojakka each year during the St. Urho celebration but Harvala thought a contest would be a great addition.

“I think Menahga could be called the Mojakka Capitol of the World,” she said.

She will be dressed up as Sinikka, St. Utho’s wife, as part of the festivities.

The mojakka potluck/cook-off is from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 17 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.

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.

The public will also vote for a people’s choice award. Awards will be announced at 2:15 pm. Sunday, March 17.

The winner of each category and the people’s choice award will receive $50 in Menahga Bucks. In case of a tie, awards will be split in half.

For more information contact Priscilla Harvala at 573-3575.

There is no entry fee, although a contribution to the Menahga Area Historical Society and Museum is welcomed.

Other St. Urho events take place today (Saturday), March 16.

A pancake breakfast will be served from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Senior Center. A freewill offering will be accepted.

A volleyball tournament begins at 9 a.m. at the school gymnasium.

At noon, the Nytes of St. Urho march to the St. Urho statue and pay respects to the Finnish saint by participating in a playful twist on the “changing of the guards.”

A short parade follows, at 12:20 p.m. from Cottage House Café along Main Street to the west.

Kids dog sled rides will be given from 1-3 p.m. by Janet Bahe at the Menahga Football Field.

The annual bar stool race and “kolf” will start at 1 p.m. at the Spirit Lake beach.

The Menahga VFW will serve mojakka from 5-7 p.m. Saturday.

Menahga is the self-declared “Home of St. Urho.”

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561