Logan County Extension & Human Development & Family Science

Rath-Wald, Carmen. "Logan County Extension & Human Development & Family Science." Napolean Homestead, 17 October 2011, 2.

"The German is like a willow.
No matter which way you bend him,
he will always take root again."
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn -

I have been having such a great time visiting with people about their German from Russia food traditions.  Over the weekend, I was in the Minneapolis area and spoke to some folks who relocated years ago, but still remember their growing up years and some pretty vivid memories of yearly traditions that remain today.  My cousin Kay (Lang) Dougherty said growing up they always had turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and ham for Easter.  She follows the same menu even now.

Some families never had turkey because if they did raise them, they were considered a cash crop and
were taken into town and sold. The cash from the turkey sales would buy sugar and cocoa, string and shoes, items that the farm didn’t produce. On the way back from Minneapolis along I-94 we saw a long barn with fenced window areas. At the east end we saw turkey heads, the rest of their bodies obscured by the solid wall. We wondered if those turkeys would next be seen at a grocery store in time for the Thanksgiving  holiday.

We talked about butchering turkeys and I learned that sometimes the knife was stuck down the turkeys throat rather than cut from the outside like chickens. I marvel at the women who butchered chickens in the early Sunday morning hours then went inside to prepare for church, went to church and came home to the freshest of chicken dinners. I imagine that the butchering process is much streamlined and efficient compared to how our grandparents completed the job. Yvonne Eissinger told of how she remembers being a child and her mom would go out to the farm in the morning and bring in 25 chickens. Their heads would be cut off in the alley and there they would hop around. Singeing the chicken feathers was a stinky job, and picking the pinfeathers tedious. 

Sue Balcom’s short video of a butchering day this summer makes one marvel at the equipment
now available to make the butchering process faster and more efficient. To see that video, visit the cookbook blog:  dasguteessen.wordpress.com

Certainly when visiting about food, recipes always enter into the conversation, but there too the methods and equipment has made similar versions of old recipes easy to duplicate, such as the one below for crockpot chicken and dumplings:

    Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
    Submitted By: Janiece Mason
    Photo By: mominml

    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 6 hours
    Servings: 8

    "Easy, creamy chicken with delicate dumplings made from refrigerator biscuits, slow cooked to comfort food perfection."

    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
    1 onion, finely diced
    2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

    1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
    2. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 hours on high. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

    All rights reserved © 2011 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 10/17/2011

If you have any questions about this column or would like to talk about Germans from Russia food
ways, please give me a call at the NDSU Extension Service office in Logan County at 701-754-2504. I would be glad to help.

Printed with permission of the Napoleon Homestead and Carmen Rath-Wald.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller