|Edith Grosshans Gruebele, of Lodi, displays
her cookbook, "Favorite Recipes of a Lifetime," and some of
the German dishes contained within the book's pages including
snowballs, cheese buttons and sugar kuchen.
A Book of Favorite Recipes
By Jana Saastad
Lodi News-Sentinel, Lodi, California, February 16, 2002.
Edith Grosshans Gruebele lives to cook and cooks to live. And
her children and grandchildren love everything she concocts, from
kuchens and kuechla to kraut struedel and dumplings.
Yes, Gruebele is German and her ethnic dishes are captured for
posterity in her self-published book Favorite
Recipes of a Lifetime. Gruebele has sold some 200 copies
at three different outlets including Sherrie's Sonshine nutrition
store, the Wig Palace and Felten's Topaz Restaurant, all located
The down to earth Lodi woman flashes a warm sincere smile when
she talks about the subject of food, and specifically the food of
her heritage. Food made from scratch and made with love was something
she took for granted as a small child in Frie Denstal, Bessarabia,
a town known as the Ukraine. Cooking was a daily ritual she learned
from her mother and her grandmother and so on down the ancestral
Gruebele came to the American shores by way of Lodi in 1952. But
in between the years in her hometown and in moving to Lodi, she
was forced to dwell in Poland as a World War II refugee, escaping
the wrath of Stalin's army. After being liberated by the United
States Armed Forces, she and her family spent time in Germany.
Even in the chaos created by political upheaval, Gruebele's mother
managed to cook family dishes, passing down the recipes to her young
daughter's able hands.
It was one of her daughters who suggested Gruebele write the cookbook
to keep the numerous Germanic recipes alive and simmering in the
New World for generations to come.
Gruebele agreed to the task which led her down a one-year odyssey
of organizing, experimenting with recipes and turning a "pinch
of that" into an actual measurement. It was a challenge; one
that Gruebele says she'll probably not visit again. Still, Gruebele
says she has no regrets; only a family heirloom that documents he
culinary existence on this planet.
The following is an excerpt from a recent interview.
Q: Do you have a favorite recipe in your book?
Gruebele: My grandchildren's favorite is snowballs. It's an old
dessert; about 100 years old. My grandmother made it.
Q: How did you go about getting a publisher?
Gruebele: My daughter put me in contact with a cookbook company
which usually publishes books for organizations. I asked them if
they would do mine and they said yes.
Q: Do you think it's important to hand down recipes from one
generation to the next?
Gruebele: Definitely. It's a cultural thing, and we're into cultural
and ethnicity. There are very few people who don't like German cooking.
People can't get enough of it.
Q: Do your children cook the recipes?
Gruebele: Oh yes. In fact, my daughter-in-law didn't cook German.
But since she's had this book it stays in the kitchen and she uses
it all the time. She says it's easy to follow.
Q: Was there a moment in the book when you almost gave up?
Gruebele: Yes. Well first I was going to do the German recipes
only, then I decided everything I had done in cooking for the last
50 years would go in.
Q: Have you been back to visit your homeland?
Gruebele: Twice. I went back when it was under Romania rule in
1989 and then I went back in 1996.
Reprinted with permission of Lodi News-Sentinel, Lodi, California.