Terri Brutsche's sauerkraut balls are incredibly popular.
"(My son) Dean requested them for his graduation party. (My daughter) Abby has requested them for her party next year," she said.
Although the recipe has been handed down from Brutsche's mother, the recipe's popularity exceeds her family's demands. Her husband of 25 years, Richard, said his co-workers at the Norwalk City Street Department celebrated when he told them Terri would be a cook of the week.
"I'm sure the street department is hoping for sauerkraut balls," Richard said.
Just how popular are these sauerkraut balls?
Brutsche's husband recalled when the First United Methodist Church youth group came to their house when they served the appetizers. The group left a note on the empty plate that read: "Sauerkraut yuck. Sauerkraut balls yummy."
The recipe helped Brutsche's niece get to Australia through the People to People program. Sixty-six percent of her fundraising efforts was from selling sauerkraut balls, she said.
"Every person who has handed (the recipe) down put their little variation on it," said Brutsche, whose additions are fresh garlic, homegrown kraut and peppers. "The recipe didn't originally call for garlic or a lot of spices. We just added it in."
For at least the last 15 years, it has been a Brutsche family tradition to make "huge batches" of sauerkraut balls to freeze for the holidays. Richard and Terri Brutsche grow their own cabbage and kraut.
Richard remembered when his wife made a sauerkraut chocolate cake that relatives at a family reunion loved. "That's the advantage of growing your own kraut," he said.
"We didn't take any home," his wife added.
The sauerkraut balls recipe typically consists of all homemade items from the family's personal garden. Sometimes Brutsche even manages to get home-grown sausage from a friend when it's available.
"Otherwise, we just purchase it," she said.
When Richard and Terry were dating, Terri was busted when she tried to pass off a store-bought pie as being homemade. "He caught it," she said.
"It was too perfect," Richard added.
"Ever since then I've made homemade pies and I've had no complaints," Terri said. "The secret is having your own ingredients."