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Schaefer Family continues progressive dinner tradition

A tradition 37 years in the making came to life again as the heirs of Werner and Christine Schaefer recently participated in their family’s annual Progressive Dinner.

There just were not enough days for family members to visit each other’s homes during the holidays, so in 1982, they decided to dedicate a single day for visiting, inspecting Santa’s gifts and getting caught up on the family news. They agreed each family would be limited to serving a single food category, beginning with breakfast and continuing through the day. Everyone embellished their specific category and the day was such a success it has continued every year since then.

This year, 63 family members joined for at least a portion of the day, with most participating in the full event. Seven families created culinary delights in their assigned category, and participants were cautioned to resist overindulgence to allow full gastronomic gratification of the day’s gourmet creations.

The day started at 9 a.m., with rain and ice in the forecast, at the rural Neillsville home of Le and Karen Luchterhand. The menu included three kinds of miniature quiche, four varieties of mini muffins, milk, chocolate milk, orange juice and lemonade. Tours of the new barn were available on request before heading for the day’s second stop.

Rich and Karen Verschay were hosts for stop two at their home south of Greenwood. Lettuce salad with tomatoes, shredded carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds and cottage cheese highlighted this stop. The salads were complemented with smoked oysters, herring, venison sausage, coffee, tea and lemonade.

The traveling troupe of food connoisseur’s next stop was the Withee home of Mike and Jo Lulloff. Jo fulfilled her category of fruit with apples and homemade caramel dip, banana bread, and clementines, served with a side dish of white and chocolate fudge and augmented with fruit punch, sherbet, and coffee. Jo’s famous, homemade, individually wrapped caramels are not to be missed at this stop.

The next stop for sustenance was the rural Unity home of Bryce and Max Luchterhand where steaming bowls of succulent chicken dumpling soup and chili were being served with venison sticks, three kinds of cheese, and crackers. Drink choices consisted of hot or cold apple cider and Max’s famous punch.

Rain had begun to fall, but it didn’t keep the intrepid band of roving relatives from continuing their trek eastward, stopping next at the rural Stratford home of Jon Schaefer. Platters of “pink squirrel” and egg salad sandwiches served with cowboy taco dip, chips, sausage and cookies temporarily placated palates. Jon also served soft drinks and several flavors of homemade wine.

The seemingly insatiable itinerants moved on to Fenwood and the home of Kimberly and Dennis Kusiak as the afternoon waned. They were treated to nachos, guacamole, salsa dip, cheese, sausage and several flavors of punch.

The intrepid travelers moved to their final destination as night fell and the rain continued. The day would culminate at the Wausau home of Jamie and Diane Schaefer where everyone was treated to a variety of pizza, complemented by Diane’s homemade cookies and candy. Beverages included soft drinks, punch, beer and coffee. People headed home with outside temperatures still above freezing and rain still falling, but not before hugs all around and a promise to do it all again next year.