Welcome to the church bazaar, the picnic, the way churches balance their budgets every summer. Growing up in Pennsylvania this was a summertime way of life, with the addition of the Pittston Tomato Festival, the Italian Festival in Scranton, the Kielbasa Festival in Plymouth, and a newer festival including a “cabbage roll”.  It is what it sounds like. Polish, Russian, and various other cabbage-loving natives roll a cabbage down a hill in a cabbage race. It rules. There is a bazaar pretty much every weekend, usually more than one. It’s a tradition I am glad I am a part of. Sadly it was 110* so we did not wait in the two-hour potato pancake line, so you will have to imagine their awesomeness. Two hour line. Potato pancake.

You do not have to be a church-goer or a believer to believe the homemade food these bazaars offer is some of the best around.  It’s a great example of families, couples, and teenagers all coming together for a good cause. Food! I was only in town for a few, but I made up by eating three bazaar’s worth of food at the two I attended. See below.

St. Nick's bazaar.

One of the highlights of St. Nick’s was the Mexican stand. It had some of the best food there. I grew up in an area which at most times felt like it was 99% Caucasian. It is no longer such a one-dimensional area, and it was nice to see that reflected in a community that can be less than welcoming to outsiders. New families have moved into the area, and are making their cuisine and traditions part of ours. So, along with potato pancakes and pierogi, there were tamales, and pinchos, and kebabs so good that I ate before I took a picture. Got one of the grill though.

Tamale and a burrita. The burrita was refried black beans, queso fresco, crisp, fresh, lettuce, and a perfect corn pita-like tortilla.

The coveted seats that we never get there early enough for.

And now for the reason I come here. I have been known to eat half a chicken like a snack. One of the few things I am reluctant to share.

I know this is basically the same picture, but look at it.

It is so crisp I could eat a bucket of just skin. It is fried perfectly as to have almost none of the negative effects of grease. It’s almost, dare I say, light? Along with its almost sweetness, it is easy eating to say the least.

As we head into Autumn, I leave you with some of the best of my summer. Bazaar II coming soon.