Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Easter

When is Easter?  It is the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring? 
Easter to me is when I sit with the memories of my German Russian mother who made certain requests of me during holy week.  It was a solemn time for her and she expected our home to take on the quietness of a monastery.  I remember how we ate simple meals during the week.  During my teenage years, she demanded I not run around with my friends.  On Good Friday there was no way I would attend the dance at the park pavilion.  The deep respect I had for her kept me home.

Growing up, I always knew Easter meant more to my mother than Christmas.  I never knew why.  Perhaps it was her deep religious beliefs.   Maybe it was something from her childhood.  Could it be that her mother always had a basket of candy for her when she was a child, like she always had for my brother and me?  She would hide the baskets behind our console radio in the living room, or behind an overstuffed chair, or under a table.  Her eyes sparkled as she said “Let’s go see if the Easter Rabbit brought you something.”

We found our baskets piled high with yellow marshmallow chicks and colorful candy eggs, the ones with the white sugary centers.  And there would be a few of the hard boiled eggs we colored the day before.    

Yes, Easter season was important to my mother.  We had to attend church Palm Sunday (Palmsonntog),  and Good Friday (Karfreitog) was to be a solemn day as well as the Saturday before Easter (Ostern).  After church, Mom prepared a delicious meal, usually a big juicy ham, and then we got to eat the candy in our baskets.  

Easter blessings to all of you and may you have sweet memories from your childhood.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011


March 28 we returned home from our six-week trip.   
After a little over a week, I feel back in the swing of things.  In addition to the normal unpacking, I had to get my garden plot ready for planting.  Because of all the rain this winter (our neighbor said he counted 40 inches in his rain gauge) the weeds were out of control.  Hope I can grow vegetables as well as I can grow weeds. 
I will tell you a little about our travels.  We spent a week in northern Arizona with my sister and her family.  Wish we lived closer because we would have fun cooking and baking German Russian foods.  One day, we made Butterglace (butterballs).  For those of you who do not know what they are, I will include the recipe in this post.    
Butterglace were a treat to us who grew up on chicken noodle soup.  You see, they took a certain amount of time to make especially when you consider the noodles were homemade.  Most everything we ate was homemade or as they say nowadays--gourmet.  We didn’t realize how lucky we were to have fresh (organic) produce, range fed chickens and beef. 
After my visit with Gladys, (I have to mention the photos she shared with me; many old ones that I plan to pass along) we traveled to the Phoenix area for more visiting with family and friends.  I want to keep my posts short, therefore I will wait to tell more about all the wonderful people we encountered along the way.
Let’s get back to Butterglace.  The recipe below is an adaptation of recipes from KUCHE KOCHEN , published by The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, first printing 1973.  

BUTTERGLACE (Butterballs) for noodle soup
1 loaf old dry bread (or you may toast it in the oven).  4-5 cups
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
1 cup half and half
5 beaten eggs

To make bread crumbs put in food processor or do it the old fashioned way.  Place slices between two dishtowels and crush with a rolling pin.  This is how my mother did it.
Add salt and allspice.  Scald half and half and butter, then pour on crumbs.  Mix well.  Let cool and add beaten eggs.  Roll one into a ball.  Try it in boiling water to make sure it doesn’t fall apart.  If you want it firmer, add another egg and more butter. 
Put in hot chicken broth. When they rise to the top, add noodles.

NOTE:  Butterballs may be made ahead.  Store them in the refrigerator until you want to use them.  You can even freeze.