Alma’s Favorite Recipes: Cooking & Memories from a German-Russian Farm Kitchen

By Alma (Janke) Schott

Edited and compiled by Acacia (Jonas) Stuckle, Linda Schott, and Leah (Johnson) Aakre, 2012
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota

Review by Gwen Schock Cowherd

I love cookbooks devoted to Germans from Russia recipes. I keep telling myself that my collection is complete but then another one comes along that looks extra special and I must have it. I recently lost control, went a little crazy, and purchased five new German Russian cookbooks in October and November 2012 alone. My justification is that all are unique because they include a specific family’s foodways, history, genealogy, and pictures. 

Alma’s Favorite Recipes, published by the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), is a recent favorite. It will be a long time before it moves to my collection shelves; I want it within easy reach because it contains recipes that I, and many German Russian families, still whip up - those rich with ethnic tradition and family-oriented.

Alma (Janke) Schott, 1922-2012, who lived her adult life on a farm located between Fredonia and Gackle, North Dakota, passed away shortly before her cookbook release. Alma, and her passion for delighting others with her cooking and baking, will always be remembered and celebrated through her comprehensive, spiral-bound, easy-to-read, 266 page cookbook.

Alma made baked goods, plus wedding and special occasion cakes, for two generations of local residents, always incorporating her mother’s tips tweaked by her for 80 years.  Folks in south central North Dakota are lucky to have known Alma.  Cooks like her are rare, especially nowadays with fast-food, frozen entrees, and convenience recipes grabbing the spotlight of many dual-employed households.

I recommend this cookbook. It includes many old world recipes, cuisine my mother made when I was growing up in the 1950 -1960s influenced by her treasured red-plaid Better Homes & Garden cookbook, and a few large-batch recipes. It’s a great gift cookbook that will be referred to again and again, not like those fancy big-name publisher cookbooks that end up in a rummage sale. Recipe directions are concise and easy to understand making it a good choice for beginner cooks.

In the back of the cookbook is a listing of GRHC’s Dakota Memories Oral History Project interview DVD’s with Alma (Janke) Schott and ordering directions.

The front cover picture of Alma beside a bag of Dakota Maid Bread Flour will make you smile and you will appreciate the flexible wipe-off front and back softcovers plus its compact 5.5 x 8.5 page size.  

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