A Calorie Guide to Mennonite Cooking

In the days before we became lazy and assimilated, Mennonites wouldn’t concern themselves with such things. We worked hard all day on the farm, where we could easily sweat out even the very fattiest of meals. But times have changed. Oba, some of us even work in offices, yet. So, before you dive into that plate of vereneki or cracklings, be sure to check our handy calorie-counting guide to common Mennonite dishes. Most of these are Russian Mennonite, but we even included a few dishes from our Swiss Mennonite friends, because we want to keep them as healthy and svelte as us Russian Mennos.

(By way of comparison, a Big Mac Meal with medium fries and a medium cola is 1080 calories.)

A stalk of raw rhubarb

I know some heathens like to add sugar to their rhubarb, but that ruins the taste and adds unnecessary calories. This is truly a Menno diet food if you enjoy it the way the Lord intended it without sugar. TOTAL: 11 calories


I suppose there are a few Mennos out there who prefer beet borscht, but they’re usually excommunicated pretty quickly. Cabbage borscht (the only real borscht) is a bit higher in calories than beet borscht, but we can handle it. The wussy beet borsch has just 78 calories per cup. Real Mennos are unafraid to go cabbage. TOTAL: 133 (+ sour cream)

Friendship Bread

It’s not that we aren’t friendly (it’s even on our license plates here in Manitoba), but most Russian Mennonites have never even heard of this dish. Don’t you think if the Swiss Mennos and Amish truly wanted our friendship they’d be a little more generous with the bread? Friendship Bread is not too friendly on the waistline, however. TOTAL: 195 calories.


This is by far the lightest meal a Mennonite typically ever eats: 5 or 6 pickles, a handful of cheese curds, a few slices of rolled-up ham and a raisin bun with butter. Well, the pickles are high in sodium but have very few calories, only about 7 each. You might have another 100 calories in cheese curds. The ham slices will be about 34 calories each. One raisin bun might be about another 90 calories and another 36 for the pat of butter. You’ve gotta count your calories at those Mennonite funerals. TOTAL: 370 calories.

Cracklings on toast

No wonder Oma made Opa have puffed wheat for breakfast once in a while. You just can’t have jreewe every day. A typical calorie count for 50g of cracklings is 272, plus another 210 for the toast with butter. The total is almost twice as much as a Big Mac. TOTAL: 482 calories. 

Schnetke with jam

Jauma lied, I’m getting hungry now! Two of these Menno biscuits will be around 425 calories, plus 80 calories for the jam. If you have farmer sausage-stuffed schnetke with beef gravy, you’re looking at closer to 700. TOTAL: 505-710 calories.

Mennonite dessert

One piece of Zwieback is a miniscule 30 calories. A piece of shoofly pie, beloved by our Swiss Mennonite friends to the south is a whopping 404 calories. Pfeffernüsse/Papanate are 53 calories each. One piece of fruit platz is 150 calories. Assuming it’s an after-church function and you try one of each to be polite, you’re looking at quite the number. TOTAL: 637 calories.


This was a little surprising. Just one cup (with the shell) of sunflower seeds is 285 calories. Based on the mountainous size of shells beneath Taunte Lina’s lawn chair, I’m guessing she consumes a lot more than that. At least triple. TOTAL: 855 calories.

Roll Kuchen with Roger’s Golden Syrup and Watermelon.

One piece of roll kuchen is 108 calories. 2 tbsp of Roger’s Golden is 138 calories. Each wedge of watermelon is 87 calories. So, at a modest rate of 3 pieces of roll kuchen, 6 tbsp of syrup, and 2 watermelon wedges, you’re going to rack up quite the calorie count. TOTAL: 912 calories.

Formavorscht and Vereneki with Schmaunt Fat

Well, let’s see, normally you’re gonna eat at least half a pound of farmer sausage, so that’s 600 calories right there. A typical vereniki is somewhere between 80 and 100 calories, so that’s another 480-600 calories if you stop yourself at six and don’t fry them. The schmaunt fat adds another 300 calories if you use as much as my Oncle Jakob usually does. TOTAL: 1380-1500 calories.

The moral of the story: stick to raw rhubarb and you’ll be just fine.

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