Summer is here and so are the garden veggies.
My cucumber patch is growing wild and we have been eating gummeres (cucumbers) most every day. One of my vivid memories is when Mom made salat and kartoffel (potatoes) and knepfla (dumplings or glace). As a kid I was not a big meat eater so this was a favorite meal of mine. Like I tell my husband, if we had flour, eggs, sugar, and cream, my mother could make a meal.
Growing up in Nisland, we Elenbergers always had a large garden. Many days we scrubbed the dirt from under our fingernails. Gardening is hard work, but then we German Russians think sometimes that “work is better than eating”. We feel exhilarated when the blood is pumping through our veins and the warm perspiration runs down our forehead and over our cheeks.
In the spring, there is much to do to prepare the soil, and then you plant, water, and keep out the weeds. A time to rest is when the plants are growing, blossoming and the fruits of your labor start to appear. The garden gives birth and you find yourself laboring again reaping the benefits of mother earth and feeling the joy of eating the abundance of your garden.
When I work in my garden, I feel close to my parents. I think about how we never went hungry. My father made sure of that. Mom worked hard canning vegetables and meats, and making preserves.
Photos of my parents working in their garden, July 1967
My recipes for Gummere Salat and Kartoffel and Knepfla.
Slice cucumbers, add a little green onion (plus tops) and sliced radish. Use buttermilk with a dab of sour cream to cover the salad. Do not salt ahead of time as the cucumbers will wilt.
Peel several potatoes and cut into large cubes. Boil in salt water until done. Remove from water.
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 ½ to 2 cups flour (to make a stiff dough)
Sift the dry ingredients. Pour beaten egg-milk and melted butter into mixture. Mix and knead. Cut into small pieces. Drop into boiling salted water. Cook a few minutes until the dumplings rise to the top. Drain and add to potatoes.
Add 1 cup sour cream to the mixture.
Brown one medium, chopped onion and a handful of cubed bread in butter. Spoon over potatoes, dumplings and sour cream.