Food at Grandmother's

Karen Krein Strong, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, December 2010

I ate oatmeal at my grandma's house, but nowhere else. She used every part of a chicken, including the brains. Chicken soup canned always included the feet. How many people have never chewed on a chicken foot? She floured her round oak table and made noodles, cutting them in precise widths using only a knife. She made fried dough too, but I have no recipes for that. Her specialty was cinnamon rolls. The two dishes I remember most and have passed down are Holuptzi (Cabbage rolls) which we often make without the roll-just the mix of ground beef and pork, sauerkraut, rice and potatoes. The other favorite is Kase Knoephla-dumplings made of dry cottage cheese. First boiled, then fried. Fried ones are served with jam or sour cream. We had to eat boiled ones first, because we all preferred fried ones.

My grandmother canned everything. During lean times the family had to eat canned meat. My dad gags when he talks of it, so it must have been a necessity, instead of a treat. She canned all kinds of fruits and vegetables in a hot water bath and made jams and jellies as well as lye soap. There were always trays of it on the back porch. All of the cooking and preserving took place on an old wood cook stove in the kitchen.

My grandmother cooked without a recipe book and rarely wrote down recipes. When she did give out a recipe it was with measurements such as: A cup of this and a spoon of that. We never knew what size cup or spoon. These are a few of my food memories of my German-Russian grandmother.

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