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Category Archives: General

General information, not necessarily a recipe or household hint.

Five German Menus

Well, here goes.  I will be providing the scan of the German handwriting, followed by the transcription.  Then, I’ll provide the pieces that I’ve figured out.  

There are at least three different sets or styles of handwriting in Mom’s cookbook.  This set is in black ink and concerns menus.  They are grouped by Roman numerals.  The page from the cookbook has a clipping for “Swell Fudge” pasted in the right margin since there was room for it…..:)


Here is the transcription that  Sütterlinstube provided:

Hamburgerrippe botkeschuh (?)
Gek. Kartoffeln mit große Bohnen

Blinde Finken
Kartoffelpurree mit Schneidebohnen

Gefüllte Tomaten
Gebr. Rinderrippe
Gek. Kartoffeln mit Erbsen
Flensjes mit Ananas

Gebr. Kartoffeln mit Gurkensalat

Gekocht Seezungen mit Garneelenhaub
Gekocht Ardappele mit Wurzeln


Here are the translations  I came up with the help of Google and Bing!  

Hamburgerrippe botkeschuh (?)
Gek. Kartoffeln mit große Bohnen

Oxtail Soup
Hamburger rib botkeschuh (?)
Cooked Potatoes with large beans
Fruit salad.

I couldn’t find a good translation for the second line.  Hmmmmm……

Gek. – abbreviation for Gekocht (cooked)

Blinde Finken
Kartoffelpurree mit Schneidebohnen

Blind Finches 
Potato/Leek Soup with cut beans
Cherry Torte

You know our term “Pigs in a Blanket”……”Blind Finches” is kind of like that.  Research brought me to understand that these are steak roll-ups, which resemble small birds. 

Kartoffelpurree could be Pureed Potatoes, but the translator thought it might be Danish for Potato/Leek Soup.  Although I don’t use leek, Mom liked to grow leek in her garden.

Gefüllte Tomaten
Gebr. Rinderrippe
Gek. Kartoffeln mit Erbsen
Flensjes mit Ananas

Stuffed Tomatoes
Stewed beef rib
Cooked Potatoes with peas
Crepes with pineapple

Several times we see the abbreviation “Gebr.” in the German.  I think it is for “Gebrau” which can mean a “brew” or “mixture”.  I am interpreting that to be something like a stew, but at some times it might mean a marinade..

Flensjes — Dutch for “crepes”

Gebr. Kartoffeln mit Gurkensalat

Curry Soup
Veal Austen
Marinated potatoes with cucumber salad

Kerichsuppe — Norwegian for “Curry Soup”
Chokoladevla is a Dutch Chocolate pudding 

Gekocht Seezungen mit Garneelenhaub
Gekocht Ardappele mit Wurzeln

Anchovy Rolls
Sole with cooked prawns
Cooked Potatoes with Roots
Strawberry Pudding

Ansjovis-broodjes — Dutch for Anchovy Rolls
aardappel— Dutch for Potato
Wurzeln — German for root


I’m so excited!! Progress on German Handwriting

Over a year ago I wistfully blogged about the demise of handwriting in schools ( German Handwriting).  In it I made a plea for someone out there to transcribe the pages in Mom’s cookbook that were in her handwriting.

I googled “German Handwriting” around the first week of November 2012 and came across the website of “Sutterlin Stube Hamburg eV”. which appears, of course, in German.  Using the on-line translator, it showed the following information:

The Sutterlin Institute was founded in 1996 as a local working group for the transfer of old documents from German into Latin script by residents of the Old Centre Ansgar in Hamburg’s Long Horn. In subsequent years (there was) worldwide expansion of this volunteer activity. On 6 May 2009, the club  Sütterlinstube Hamburg e.V (was) founded as a nonprofit association. Members come from the city of Hamburg and surrounding areas.

The second paragraph:

Does your family have old handwritten documents, family documents or seals in loving grandmothers autograph book? And you can not read these family treasures? Maybe we can help you! …

Wow!  I didn’t waste any time sending my scanned pages and had a reply in a very short time.  The results came to me by email in the German language, but with the use of both Microsoft and Google translator, I am now making some sense of the writing.  I will be posting the results in the near future.

Stories are handed down in most families, and undoubtedly get warped over time.  I really warped this one about the cookbook!  Somehow, my story was that this cookbook (undoubtedly!) was a gift of Mom’s brother, Aloys, who was by trade a baker.  Uncle Aloys died in WWII.  Mom had said at some point that Aloys made a delicious “Butter Kuchen”.  So, my story goes that Aloys had given Mom the cookbook as a wedding gift with his prized “Kuchen” recipe among the beautifully handwritten pages.  This made sense to me because a number of the recipes had “Kuchen” in the title. Now, isn’t that just a lovely story?  But was it true?……

My sister Eleanor said “I don’t think so!  I think these are recipes that Mom wrote down, herself.  Remember, she worked in Holland for a doctor’s family and I think those recipes came from that time.”  Hmmmmmm…..I checked the family tree again.  When Mom and Dad married in 1929, Aloys would have been only about eleven years old!  Well, my story began to unravel!

Ellie’s story proved a lot more substantial than mine when Google identified some of the terms in the writings as “Dutch”!  Alas, I am inclined to believe that the writing in the cookbook was, indeed, my Mom’s. The handwriting looks to be done very carefully on the menus and recipes that were in black ink.  The handwriting on two pages in blue ink do not appear as carefully done, but I think they are also Mom’s and probably were added when she was a busy housewife and mother.

I think it’s ironic that my noticing an article about the demise of handwriting coincides with the mission of this group of German people.  I am really enchanted with their objectives and am posting them as revealed to me in the online translator:

Our statutory objectives

  1. Activation of the ability to read the Romanised and write. To do this the Club offers its own courses and action by individual members in the context of other educational institutions.

  2. Assistance in the transfer of historical documents from the German in the Latin script as a contribution to a meaningful life in retirement, for an understanding between the generations and (in some cases) to preserve world’s German heritage from oblivion and make it available to the wider research.

  3. Accompanying historical research that make a “history from below”, i.e. the history of the often forgotten culture of single people in the German-speaking world.

  4. On the basis of the transmitted texts (possibly in collaboration with other cultural), organization of exhibitions, readings and publication of written communications.

  5. Assistance in the establishment of similar institutions in other regions.

  6. Support for the publishing of publications and plays that have arisen from the transcriptions of the Sütterlinstube and still emerge.

  7. Promotion and cooperation with institutions which have similar or the same objectives.

  8. Support for projects of stationary care for elderly in non-profit organizations in connection with the purposes of 1-6.

Sounds like a win-win situation to me.  I am benefiting because my pages are finally transcribed; the people doing it are keeping their brains active and doing something they feel is useful.  Big smile here!



Roll Call Answers

Something that played a big part in Mom’s life was Sunflower club.  Here she was welcomed as another Kansas farm wife for the main purpose of just being social and good neighbors.  The club met monthly in one of the ladies’ home, and as hostess she was likely going to serve a light lunch at the end of the meeting consisting of delicate sandwiches, coffee or punch, a dessert and nut cups all on a glass hostess serving tray with cup.  

The meeting was called to order by the president and roll call was conducted by the secretary.  During the announcements at the end of the business meeting the hostess for next month would suggest the roll call question at her house. This was something you might think about during the month so that you could have something really “good” to answer when you name was called.  Where did those ideas come from?  Mom clipped one of Hope Needham’s columns to help come up with ideas when it came her turn.

Ideas for Roll Call Answers

Dear Hope:  Some one asked for roll call ideas.  Here are some:

• What frightens you most?
• The biggest thrill in your life.
• Who has the last word at your house.
• Recipe for ill temper.
• Strange but true.
• A discourtesy often seen in public places.
• Verse from an old valentine.
• Give a new decorating hint.
• Describe your wedding dress.
•A home courtesy.
• A lesson my mother taught me.
• What I can see from my kitchen window.
• My first day of housekeeping.
• How to remember my neighbor,
• My first day at school experience.
•The town I like to shop in and why.
•My most embarrassing moment.
• A person I have I have always admired.
• What I do when I do what I please.

— Mrs. James L Damery, Illinois.

Aren’t these just great conversation starters anyway?  I would love to hear answers to any of these questions.


More Gift Verses

It’s amazing to me the sorts of things that could be gifts to your friends and neighbors that I wouldn’t even think of in this day and age. Of course these were written and contributed in the context of the time, probably the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Most of Hope Needham’s Homemaker column was targeted to the farm wife who did not have a job outside the home.  I think the term “Wifey” just wouldn’t fly today.  But, the verses are still fun and the suggestions were probably very appropriate to the homemaker in the day.


With Stuffed Dates

There are dates that make us happy,
There are dates that make us blue,
There are dates that steal away the sunshine
From the dates bright golden hue,
There are dates that have a joyful meaning
The heart of love alone can see,
But the dates of which I’m speaking
Are the dates to you from me.

With Home Made Pickles

Some folks are always in a pickle
No matter whatever they do,
But I wonder if you wouldn’t rather
Have the pickle in you.
If so, here’s some home made pickles
To add to your Christmas cheer.
Good wishes galore go with them
And hope for a bright New Year.

With a Glass of Jelly

Before the frost was on the pumpkin
Or the trees their leaves had shed
I made those glass of jelly
From apples bright and red.l
Just eat it on your breakfast toast
When dawns the Christmas day.
Best wishes for your happiness
With peace and joy alway.

With a Dressed Chicken

We may talk of all good eatables
And name them one by one,
But what with chicken can compare
Beside the total sum?

And when you’ve polished drumsticks
And of white meat ate and ate,
There is still the bread and gravy
For cleaning up your plate.

With Any Gift

Best wishes for the Christmas day
And all the days to come,
May happiness be your always
From dawn till set of sun.
In all my blessings I count o’er,
Which number not a few,
I thank the Giver of them all
For friends the like of you.

-Sent in by Molly K. from Wisconsin

More Verses

Dear Hope:  I am sending a few verses to be used with gifts as my contribution to the Household, as I enjoy the contributions from others very much.  I would like to hear from someone who has used sheet music.  I prefer religious songs but any would be all right.  send a list of songs you have.  Now here are the verses:

With an Apron

A maid in an apron is always quite charming
Ro a young man’s affections completely disarming.
You might don this one and invite “him” to tea,
As for the result, well, we’ll all wait and see.

With a Handkerchief

I’m sure you’d think old Santa Claus
Had really passed by you
If among your gifts you failed to find
A handkerchief or two.

With a Pair of Towels

A couple of towels for husband and wife,
Use each one separately, live without strife,
But if “He” never wishes to hear Wifey howl,
He’ll wash on the wash cloth and not on the towel.


German Handwriting

I saw a newspaper article today written by a local writer about schools questioning the usefulness of cursive writing. With the availability of computers today, does it make any sense to teach cursive writing?  The advantage of cursive writing, in the past, was that it was much faster than printing and was more useful when trying to record anything.  Well, I grew up with a mother whose handwriting was in the German tradition and I had a hard time reading it.  When I went away to college Mom wrote me letters, usually the front and back of a tablet page, but it was difficult to read it.  Usually I got the drift of what she meant from context, but German handwriting is “pointy”, not round like American handwriting.  I don’t think my Dad ever ventured much further than writing his signature, although I’m sure he was able to read the American newspaper and such.  My Mom was an avid reader, so she had many books around.  Dad, not so much.  

Well, here is an exercise for anyone out there to help me with.  The cookbook has a section that is devoted to making a good Torte.  Undoubtedly those were from my Uncle Aloys, the baker.  The scans attached to this blogpost appear before that Torte section.  I’m tempted to think that these are menus of some sort, but I am willing to consider anyone else’s opinions about what they say.  If you have an idea, please post what you think as a comment.

























Getting Poinsettias to Bloom Again

I’m not really sure who Hope Needham was, but Mom must have been a fan.  There are several clippings which she authored.  At first I was sure she was part of the Kitchen Klatter staff or maybe the Jessie’s Homemaker Radio Visit magazine.  The clippings don’t really resemble something that would have been clipped from Cappers Weekly or Grass & Grain.  These may have been an earlier publication.  You have to realize that Mom came to this country not knowing any English.  She learned the language when her kids started going to school.  So, to finally be able to read the language must have been quite an accomplishment.

I remember Mom trying to “save” a poinsettia and this must have been where she got the inspiration.  So, this clipping may be from the ‘50’s when I was in grade school.  Do any of you remember Hope Needham?  If so, maybe you could tell us a little more about her.

Scan of the clipping from Mom's Cookbook

Dear Mrs. Needham:

The art of getting poinsettias to bloom without a greenhouse is quite tricky and since our African Violets (130) take up considerable space and require a lower temperature, our poinsettias didn’t give us a nice show as usual this year.  We have had the same plants grow and bloom every year for 15 years or until they became too large to get into the house.

After the plants drop most of their leaves and flowers, usually about Feb. 1, I remove them to the basement where the temperature is about 44 to 60 degrees. The last of the leaves drop off and the plant becomes dormant.  Only water the ground enough to keep the stems from shriveling, usually one a month is sufficient.

About May 1, or when the weather outside is warm and danger of frost is past, I take all the plants upstairs, knock them from the pots, remove some of the old dirt and re-pot in larger containers.  The soil mixture I use is one=third well-rotted manure or a handful of commercial fertilizer, to two-thirds by measure of black soil with a small amount of sand to make the mixture porous.

The stems are not cut back several inches, making the cut at an outside leaf bud, so that the new growth grows to the outside and makes a more shapely plant. I usually cut away most of the previous year’s growth , or the plants would be monsters in just one year.  Water the newly planted poinsettias well, and in about two weeks new growth will start.

From now on never allow the soil to dry out, but keep the plants in the sun.

I have read that the plants can be sunk in the ground somewhere, but I  never tried it, but keep them where I see them every day and can keep the soil in the pots moist at all times.  Some hot days it is necessary to water them two or three times.

By September, or when night temperatures drop to 60 or 65 degrees, the new wood has grown to 20 or 24 inches, and I bring the plants into the sun room and put them in the  south windows to get as much sun as possible.  The temperature should be about 70 degrees from now on.  A draft on the plants or insufficient water will cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off.  By Thanksgiving the tips of the branches  will be showing color and the entire bract will be in color by Christmas. The color will appear quicker if the plants get no artificial light at night.

Saving Mama’s Cookbook

My Mom came to America from Germany in 1929 and one of things she brought with her was a new cookbook.  In it were recipes that her brother, my Uncle Aloys (a baker) had written down for her.  I am the youngest of her seven children, so by the time I came around Mom’s cooking was pretty much American.  This cookbook was always in the cabinet where we knew recipes that she liked could be found.  When she died and we had to go through her things, I took home her cookbook.  That was in 1993.  My first granddaughter was born the same day that my mother died.  I have always treasured that this demonstrates the real circle of life.  But, I digress.l…..I put Mom’s cookbook in a file drawer, only thinking that I needed to treasure this remembrance of her.

Recently I dug the cookbook out and decided I need to share what’s in it.  By the time I got the book, it had pretty much started to disintegrate.  I don’t know what happened to the front cover or the front part of the book.  I think I will eventually publish and print the book, but I decided to create this blog so that I could write about the things I remember and my musings about what are in the book.

I plan to scan the recipes, transcribe them so that they can be copied, write some musings about them and welcome your comments about them. At some point, I hope to get some help from someone out there to translate some of the recipes.  You see, there are some recipes that are in German handwriting.  I never learned to read the language; in fact, I only understand a bit of the low German that she and Daddy sometimes used.  I always had a hard time reading her handwriting because it was in traditional German handwriting.

Most of Mom’s recipes are desserts, and all of us certainly inherited her sweet tooth.  They sure look yummy to me.  Mom collected recipes from Jessie Young’s “Homemaker” magazine, Kitchen Klatter magazine, Grass and Grain weekly newspaper and Cappers’ Weekly.  I found other things like household hints in the cookbook, too.

I think I will just progress through the book in the order I found it.  I hope you enjoy this journey, too.

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