Learning History Through Cooking: Anamoose Woman Writes German Cookbook

Paulsen, Nikki D. "Learning History Through Cooking: Anamoose Woman Writes German Cookbook." Minot Daily News, 20 May 2002.

Many great things in life started out with a completely different idea in mind. Rose Marie Gueldner of Anamoose started out trying to trace her own family history, and the project expanded rapidly.

“German Food and Folkways” is the title of a new Germans-from-Russia heritage cookbook written by Gueldner.

“This is more than a cookbook,” said Gueldner. “It is also a history book.”

Throughout the book, Gueldner wove in the family histories and stories that have been handed down along with the traditional recipes. Even if you do not cook, you can enjoy reading this book for the stories and the historical information.


It was her own family history project that got her started on the book. “I started out doing some family history. I was doing a family tree, and the recipes were here and there,” said Gueldner. “So I thought I’d put them together, too.”

Gueldner has long been fascinated with the Germans-from-Russia history. She has found many different published sources that went back to Southern Russia, but Gueldner went beyond that in her research. She points out that many of the “traditional” recipes published have been Americanized, and are not at all what she was searching for. “So many of those recipes used commercially canned foods or creamed soup or frozen bread dough, and grandma did not do that,” Gueldner said.

Gueldner is a food expert, with a graduate degree in food and nutrition from Iowa State University. “It used to be called home ec.” She said.

Economics in the home really were the rule for the “hausfrau” on the plains. Money was always tight – if there was any at all.

In “German Food and Folkways,” Gueldner writes of the many ways the hausfrau would find to use corn cobs. After cooking sweet corn for a meal, the corn water often became a soup base, and the cobs would be dried to use as fuel to smoke sausage and meats.

Gueldner spent a solid five years interviewing people for her book. “Grandmothers were not always very literate, so all of their recipes and gardening knowledge were in their heads. They passed it down to their daughters,” she said.

Often the recipes were not written down on paper for many generations. Gueldner said that when they finally did get written down, often the “written recipe” would simply be a list of the main ingredients. Grandma did not use a measuring cup very often, she said.

So Gueldner spent years testing recipes … and testing more recipes. She made them to check the yields, and she gave away lots of samples. “What else can you do with all that food?” she said.

She did some unique projects to test things out. She even rendered the pork fat to make cracklings, which were considered a treat in grandma’s day. She said the Barnes and Noble bookstore manager in Fargo checked right away to be sure the book included that recipe.

Gueldner praised the help she received from NDSU. “It was important to me that all the recipes have a German subtitle,” she said. “NDSU took care of the printing, and they have a native German speaker that worked on the subtitles.”

Gueldner said it is hard to select a favorite recipe. When she was a child, she said that she really loved eating the stuffed cabbage rolls. As an adult, Gueldner has discovered that making those stuffed cabbage rolls is a great deal of work.

“That was a labor of love,” she said.

Cucumber Salad with Cream Dressing and Dill
(Gummmer-, Gagommer-, oder Gurkensalat mit Dill)

Sliced cucumbers in an herbed cream sauce made a
favorite salad for many German Russian families.

4 medium cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced,
about 4 cups
Yellow or white garden globe onion or green onion
including tops, optional
1 cup heavy sweet cream
2 to 4 tablespoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon sald
¼ teaspoon pepper, optional
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, optional

Combine cucumber slices and, if using, chopped or
thinly sliced garden onion. Place in sieve over a bowl
and sprinkle with salt. Let stand at room temperature
about 1 hour. Drain well and discard juice. This step
is optional depending on the wateriness of the vegetables.

To make cream sauce, combine heavy cream, vine-
gar, salt, pepper and minced dill. If using green
onion, add thin slices including some of the green
tops. Add drained cucumber slices, stir to combine.
Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 4 to 6.

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream
Dressing and Dill. Follow recipe above, substituting
sour cream for the sweet cream and add one or
more spoonfuls of sugar.

Fried Boiled Potatoes with Scrambled Eggs
(Bratkartoffeln, gebratene Kartoffeln, oder
Bratgrumbeeren mit Ruhreier)

This was a meal in its own right, some-
times a meal to utilize leftover boiled pota-
toes. Both ingredients for this quickly pre-
pared dish were usually available in the
farmhouse kitchen. Slice cooked potatoes
and fry until crispy brown. Pour over a
generous amount of scrambled eggs and
cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are set.

Dandelion Salad

3 slices of bacon, diced
4 teaspoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup white vinegar
2 cups milk
4 cups young dandelion greens, picked over,
washed, torn into bite-sized pieces

Fry bacon until cooked through or crisp, as desired.
Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon. Combine the
flour, sugar, and salt. Stir into the bacon drippings.
Add egg, vinegar and milk. Cook, stirring, until thick-
ened. Cool to lukewarm. In a serving bowl, combine
the bacon and dandelion greens. Add dressing and
toss. Serve immediately.

Cold Potato Salad with Oil and Vinegar Dressing
(Kalter Kartoffelsalat mit Öl und Essig)

1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons onion, minced
1-1/3 pounds potatoes, cooked, peeled and sliced,
about 4 medium potatoes
Snipped fresh parsley or spring green onion tops,

Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and onion.
Add potatoes. Stir gently to combine, being careful
not to crush delicate potato slices. Refrigerate at least
4 hours or up to 1 day to meld flavors. Garnish with
snipped parsley, if desired. Serve chilled. Serve 4.

Reprinted with permission of the Minot Daily News.

Rose Marie Gueldner of Annamoose stands with a copy of her new cookbook, “German Food & Folkways” in the Minot Public Library. Along with great traditional recipes, the cookbook includes insights into Germans-From-Russia history.

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