Kumla is a relatively simple recipe. The little dumplings with the Norwegian heritage are made mostly of potatoes, flour and a little baking powder.

Despite the simple appearance of the potato dumplings, folks at the American Legion in Story City have a way of cooking them up in a big way.

American Legion Post 59, the Sons of the American Legion and the Auxiliary will band together Saturday, along with other volunteers from the community, to cook kumla and ham for approximately 275 people.

That’s about how many guests Commander Terry Greenfield would like to see come through the door of the Legion Hall (301 Washington St.) to have dinner Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. and ending when the last kumla is eaten.

Guests will be greeted by roaster after roaster of kumla and hand-pulled smoked ham at dinner time.

But the work will have begun before sunrise, when about 20 people start to peel about 200 pounds of potatoes.

After being peeled, those taters are sliced and put through a grinder, then the ground potatoes are combined with flour and baking powder according to a long-standing, secret recipe used by the Legion.

“Nobody knows for sure where that recipe originated,” Greenfield said. “But it’s a very labor intensive project and we have many volunteers who make it all possible.”

The mixture is scooped from a huge bowl using ice cream scoops, explained Terry’s wife Jerry. “And then it’s put into boiling ham broth to cook,” she said. “At first, the kumla sink to the bottom of the broth. You can tell they’re done when they start to float.”

An assembly line of volunteer workers cook the kumla and the ham and the accompanying green beans and applesauce.

“We have volunteers who range in age from 4H kids and Scouts to people over 80 years old,” Terry said. “Some of the older folks have been doing it ever since the dinners started.”

The kumla feeds have been going regularly for at least the past decade.

Greenfield hopes the tradition will continue, but membership in the American Legion has dwindled as members have aged and younger people haven’t become involved.

A veteran with 30 years of service, Greenfield was in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. He retired with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank achievable.

“We’d love to see more young members join the Legion,” he said. Membership is available to servicemen and women who served during certain times. “Anyone who’s served since 9/11 is eligible.”

Aside from the camaraderie the organization offers, there is an opportunity to give back to the community.

For example, a free-will donation will be accepted for the kumla dinner. Funds are used for a large variety of community groups and projects, many of which benefit local children.

Examples of groups and projects Post 59 supports include Roland-Story High School scholarships, the After Prom Party, Roland-Story Middle School, the elementary school’s Angel Tree families, the Booster Club, the PTO, the School Foundation, youth football, the Story City Armed Service Memorial, the GCC, the fire department, the Lions club, North Story County Little League, grave side flags for area cemeteries, Hawkeye Boys State, Story County Veterans Affairs, military funerals, Story City Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

“Together we are making a difference,” Greenfield said.