Schmeckt Gut: German-Russian Foodways Exhibit

Exhibit prepared by:
Pam Burkhardt, GRHC Collections' Manager
Acacia Stuckle, GRHC Special Collection Associate
Jay "Surrey" Gage, GRHC Curator
Jeremy Poseley-Kopp, GRHC Archival Assistant

Artifacts on display have been loaned by:
Judy Brick
Pam Burkhardt
Alicia Fahlsing
Jay “Surrey” Gage
Frances Janke
Lourie Jonas
Michael M. Miller
Loretta Schultz
Acacia Stuckle

A special thanks to Connie Dahlke for her assistance with German-Russian foodways terminology.


Theresa [Kuntz] Bachmeier, Rugby, ND, serves käse knoephla (cheese buttons) and sausage to Prairie Public Television staff and guests during the June 1999 filming of the documentary Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia.

A tasty, new display was cooked up by the staff at the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. “Schmeckt Gut: German-Russian Foodways” will bring back memories of grandma’s cooking. There are four topics on display in two hall cases at the Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Room. Each topic is brought to life with the addition of canned goods, spices, dishes, cookbooks and numerous color photographs.

Cooking traditions of German-Russian culture have survived through three centuries and over three continents. Using modest ingredients based upon availability, families were able to sustain growth through times of abundance and times of hardship. These foodways bring back memories of German-Russian heritage while eating at grandma’s table.

Brot und Deig (Bread and Dough)

Breads and dough dishes were a main dish, dessert and a filling side to many meals. Bread was often a meal in itself. Using basic ingredients, dough could be baked, steamed or boiled; dropped, rolled or filled. These special techniques and methods continue to survive through generations.

  • Kuchen (Fruit & Custard Tart)
  • Dampfnoodla (Raised Dumpling)
  • Knoephle/Knoephla (Button Dumpling)
  • Strudel/Strudla (Steamed Roll-up Dumpling)
  • Platschenta/Blachinda (Pumpkin Turnover)

Theresa [Kuntz] Bachmeier, Rugby ND, rolls out dough for käse knoephla (cheese buttons).

Annie [Roesch] Larson of Aberdeen, SD, offering a slice of her homemade kuchen.

Fleisch und Käse (Meat and Cheese)

Families raised poultry and livestock to be butchered and processed. Preserving was difficult, and a smokehouse was necessary for curing meat. Uncured meat was commonly used in recipes as well. Animals also provided eggs, milk and cheese.

  • Würst (Sausage)
  • Schwartenmagen (Head Cheese)
  • Koladetz (Jellied Pigs Feet)
  • Käse (Cheese)
  • Halupsy (Cabbage Rolls)
A native of Braddock, ND, Martha [Schaefer] Suppan of Brooklyn Park, MN, makes halupsie (cabbage rolls).
Homemade wurst (sausage) is served in Hague, ND, during the 2009 Dakota Memories Heritage Tour.

Einmachen und Einlagen (Canning and Pickling)

Canning and pickling developed as a way to preserve food for a long period of time. Food was typically processed in a summer kitchen; a separate space needed to keep the heat from the main house. Canned and pickled items could be stored in a root cellar to keep them cool and extend preservation.

  • Dill Gherkin (Dill Pickles)
  • Süsseroterube (Pickled Beets)
  • Süsserarbuse (Pickled Watermelon)
  • Kirschagelee (Chokecherry Jelly)
  • Sauerkraut (Pickled Cabbage)
Paul P. Welder of Linton, ND, takes pride in his canned goods.

Watermelon pickles go from the root cellar to the table.  

Suppe (Soup)

Soup was a hot, comforting and filling meal that stretched resources from the garden’s bounty. These one-pot meals were easy for the homemaker and required little attention, allowing them to attend to other chore.

  • Borscht (Vegetable Soup)
  • Bohnesuppe (Bean Soup)
  • Knoephlesuppe (Button Dumpling Soup)
  • Hühnersuppe mit Nudeln (Chicken Noodle Soup)
Louisa Riesling serving homemade borscht outside her summer kitchen in Selz, Ukraine.

Does this foodways display bring back childhood memories?

The GRHC would love to hear from you if you have special memories to share from your past. Do you have memories of the summer kitchen, vegetable garden and root cellar? What do you remember tasty treats and treasured recipes or special feasts and foods? Were food proverbs, pranks or food toys part of your family heritage?

We would love to hear about canning, pickling and butchering; about preparing meals, Grandma’s favorite recipes, holiday baking traditions, baking bread and setting the table. Tell us about the successes and failures; shortages and times of plenty. If we’ve tapped into any of your childhood memories, let us hear from you! Please email

  • Wassermelone Finale by Gwen Schock Cowherd, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, native of Leola, South Dakota, December 2010
  • German-Russian Kuchen prepared by Gwen Schock Cowherd, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, a native of Leola, South Dakota, December 2010
  • Food at Grandmother's by Karen Krein Strong, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, December 2010


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