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Polka queen goes kolache at Hallettsville festival

By Bianca Montes
Sept. 28, 2013 at 4:28 a.m.


Strudel recipe

• 11/2 sticks of melted butter

• 1 cup of warm milk

• 2 egg yolks

• 3 cups of flour

Mix all ingredients and chill for three hours. Divide in three parts and then roll out the dough. Spread butter over the dough and add topping to your liking such as shredded apples or pears, nuts, raisins, sugar and coconut. Roll the dough, pinching the sides to seal it in and then bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown on top. Once it is out of the oven, brush the top with melted butter and serve.

RECIPE COURTESY OF ANTHONY PETRU.

Kathleen Cernosek gracefully shoved her third cheese kolache in a cup of water and smashed the soggy mess inside her mouth. After all, the reigning Polka Queen wasn't there to just look pretty; she was there to win.

Desperately, she fished out the lone piece of dough from inside the cup - tiara gleaming in the blistering sunrays - and chewed.

"Come on, baby," her husband cheered from the crowd of onlookers. "You can do it."

Ding.

The bell rang.

She lost, and the man sitting to the right of her, gleaming from a sugar high, took home the honor of being the fastest kolache eater in town - or at least at the Kolache Festival in Hallettsville, "I was robbed," she joked.

Hundreds of people filled the Knights of Columbus Hall on Saturday to celebrate all that is great about Czech heritage by filling up on baked goods, attending demonstrations to learn how to make the goods and then dancing away the calories to live polka music.

Cernosek, 55, of La Porte, and her husband, the King of Polka, are regular attendees of the festival but said it was on a whim and a request from their favorite band performing that got Kathleen Cernosek in the chair to compete in the kolache-eating contest.

"I almost thought I had it till my kolache broke in the water," she said. "I would do it again. My stomach is made for this food - I'm Czech and Polish - and I have my grandmother's cast-iron stomach."

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