Smurawa’s Country Bakery, Pulaski, WI

Sunday Traditions

When I think about being a kid and I think of Sunday, it was always the same. Sunday was: up early, best dress, 8:00am service, 9:30 Sunday School (I had perfect attendance for I think 16 years I need to dig out my pin and bars and count), stop at the local bakery for some sweets, back home to enjoy and change, and then a Sunday Drive. I capitalize it because it is “a noun!” It has earned this title. It’s not a verb……….it is an event! The Sunday cruise, drive, or jaunt is a tradition in my family.

Sunday Treats at the local bakery!

My father has a serious sweet tooth. When I think back this weekly habit of picking up bakery is just how we lived. Every Sunday, for every year as far back as I can remember. When my brother and I grew older the tradition happened less and less of course. We worked, had commitments with school, sports, and other activities. It happened less and less once we hit 15 I guess. But in general this was our tradition for almost 15 years.

My family is German. Well Norwegian, German, and Bohemian. So bakery, pastry, and carbs are simply put…..”the shit!” My Grandmother Bernice’s German Potato Salad would bring you to your knees. There are a few pieces of bakery that “ring true” to be Novak and Larson traditions. Things I remember watching, specifically my uncles, like eating knee caps as if they were kids. The sugar and whipped cream ended up on their noses, mustaches, and all over BIG BIG smiles. Maybe it’s the men I remember most because they didn’t care if they smeared their lipstick with frosting or powdered sugar.

Smurawa’s Country Bakery Pulaski, WI

This little country bakery in Pulaski, WI has it figured out. They carry all the “old school” traditional pastries that I remember as a kid. Knee cap’s, kolache’s, and peanut squares. These are all some of my family favorites and this little bakery does them WELL! If you haven’t been I highly recommend the drive. It’s worth it. It’s clean, organized, and simply quaint. It is right across the street from one of the most beautiful and dynamic Catholic Churches I have ever seen. It is HUGE. Sometimes I feel like the bigger Catholic Church’s can be looming and almost scary looking. Not this one, this one is just plain gorgeous and inviting. It almost made me wish we would have gotten up earlier to attend mass. I would love to get inside and see it some day!

The Knee Cap

knee cap sign at Smurawa's Country Bakery

What is a knee cap? I can search and search and search and I can’t find ONE image as true to tradition as those pictures I took Sunday. It has to be German. It’s a super lightly fried donut covered in powered sugar with a hole in the center FILLED with whipped cream and Smurawa’s Country Bakery makes a great one.

It’s a piece of food I remember watching my father eat at holiday meals with his side of the family. The one thing I always remember is toward the end of the meal when, one at a time, everyone would start to get up to walk over to the table full of Knee Caps. My dad would start to eat it with eyes wide and full and look right at me every time. I of course expecting that first goofy dollop of whipped cream right on the end of his nose and all over his mustache. Maybe I imagined it. As I sit here I vividly remember it. Like a TicToc video that almost plays in my head. I remember the smile. A happiness from the tradition of a piece of dessert while surrounded by family. It’s a feeling of sanctuary that only comes with a tradition like this.

If you have never experienced a Knee Cap, I highly suggest checking one out. The closest bakery in Wisconsin that does them the way I remember them is Smarawa’s Country Bakery in Pulaski, WI. They are a sweat treat and no… you can’t have just one.

The Kolache

Kolaches at Smurawa's Country Bakery

Kolaches are Czech pastries made of a yeast dough and usually filled with fruit, but sometimes cheese. … As Czech immigrants founded communities during the 1880s in rural Texas, later known as the Texas Czech Belt, the flavors and fillings evolved.

I remember them too. Prune mainly but you can get them in many flavors. They are a favorite of my families. My mom more so than my dad. I love the apple ones!

So next time you are looking for something to do on a Sunday and want to take a drive, fill up your coffee mug and head to Smurawa’s Country Bakery in Pulaski. I promise this little place will not disappoint! It is filled with little pieces of heaven that melt in your mouth and will remind you of home……no matter where that is. If home is 1970’s Wisconsin I can pretty much tell you from experience it will be like stepping into a time capsule. The memories will all come rushing back!!


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Knee Caps

Smurawa’s Country Bakery, Pulaski, WI

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