It's My Birthday
Today is good right? It’s my birthday and I have had a very exciting year so far. I did not set out to write a book, but I did write one, and I did not expect this book to be a big hit, but it is doing quite well. My husband, David, thought that this book was just another one of my “projects”. But, the other day he went to the Cave Creek library, which is a private library...
You Can Still Go Home Again
I did not abandon all of you. I was just in Wyoming celebrating my darling mother’s 89th birthday. I was with her for 10 wonderful days and really hated to leave her. She is a wonderful companion and my best friend. The house in the picture is the first house that my mom and dad lived in after they were married in Dec. 1940. This house was on the farm that my Grandpa Nab was renting and...
I Miss being Volga German
I thought it was normal to speak German in our house and to our relatives and to our friends and relatives when shopping in Torrington or Scottsbluff. As a child I just presumed everyone was Volga German like me. Most of the children in school were and so were the people in church. When we went visiting, it was to family or friends who were just like us. I realize now that we were a people...
If You're German, You Eat Sausage
If you are German, you eat sausage. I am German, and I do like sausage. I am always on the lookout for a good recipe with sausage as the main ingredient. I found Colosimo’s: The Sausage People, and they have an index of intriguing recipes. I decided to try one of their recipes – bacon wrapped sausage coins with apricot dipping sauce. I was unable to find their brand of sausage in the stores...
The Unused Whipping Belt
Don’t get me started! When I was a child in the 50’s, we were respectful and fearful of our parents. If they gave us a look or said to be home at a certain time, we made sure we did the right thing. My father had a leather belt that was kept in the bottom of the towel drawer in the kitchen. If my father said he was going to get the belt out, we all sat down and kept quiet. He got that belt out...
Where is the Schnitz Soup?
I have been asked several times by people in my Volga German community – Where is the recipe for schnitz soup? I did not put it in my cookbook for one reason: My father, Harold, did not like this dish and my mother would not make a dish my father disliked, especially when he was working such long hours out in the fields. Good food was a real reward for him at the end of the day. But for all my...
I could talk all day about the essentials of good canning. I adore preserving and canning. There is no better feeling than to see all those beautiful jars lined up in the pantry. And, you know that you accomplished it by yourself and for your family. One summer my mother and I put up 500 jars of canned goods! Here are some tips: Always use the freshest available products. Overripe or...
A Taste of Family: My Favorite Traditions
Have you ever attended a wedding that lasted three days? It’s called a Dutch Hop Wedding, and after the church ceremony the guests are invited to a big dance hall where the fun begins. The food is abundant, from garlic sausage to homemade breads and cabbage buns, to soups to grebbles and cakes for dessert. Of course, there is endless whiskey and beer. The father of the bride is set back for a long...
Butterballs, Butterballs, Butterballs
I know that most of you reading the title of this blog think I am talking turkey, but you are sooo wrong. The first German recipe my mom let me make by myself was butterballs. These are walnut sized balls of breadcrumbs, allspice and butter. Mother knew that if she gave me this recipe to put together, I would not burn, scald, cut, or scrape myself. I was only nine-years-old so Mom had to keep it...
Book Review at Whatcom Locavore →
The First of a 3-Part Interview about my Book with... →
The Unheard Story of the Volga Germans
As I was growing up on the farm in Wyoming, none of my family questions were answered. No one talked about Russia, or relatives left behind, or the villages and farms that were abandoned. I knew the names of the four villages that my grandparents were born in and their birth and death dates. Decades later when communism fell, Russia opened up and people were able to travel into Russia and get some...
If I could speak with my father, Harold, one more time, I would definitely thank him for working so hard on those farms for all those years so that my brothers and I could have braces, a car to drive to school, some nice clothes and a $5 allowance that had to last all week. When I was ready to go to college, I had two scholastic scholarships, but they weren’t enough. Thanks, Dad, for going with me...
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Great food ideas. What can you do with cabbage? Something really simple is just to saute it with fennel seeds, leaving just a bit of crispness.
1 Key Ingredient 5 Ways: Red Potatoes
You can make eggs 46 different ways, but if you are a Volga German, the one key ingredient to cooking is the red potato. Red potatoes are the best because they are not dry. You do not have to drown them in butter to be able to swallow them. When I was a little girl in the fifties, my parents were farmers. One of the crops they raised was red potatoes. When they were harvesting them, people would...
Should I Cook From Scratch Or Just Buy It?
This, my friends, is a difficult question to answer. The convenience foods in the stores today are really very good and are usually inexpensive. However, is there anything better than bread pudding, or sweet and sour lamb chops when you have made them yourself? (Above: Who makes their own sausage these days?) I believe the answer lies in a compromise. I always use fresh asparagus, but I will buy...