September 15, my husband and I traveled in our 5th wheel trailer from North Dakota to Minnesota. We made a stop in White Bear Lake to visit Gwen Cowherd and her husband, Phil. Over the past two years, Gwen and I have become email pen pals. We share an interest in writing, cooking, and we both like to grow a garden. Gwen and I have a love and respect for our culture and it is important to both of us to pass our heritage down to our children and grandchildren. While Gwen and I were visiting, she said, “We are both one hundred percent German Russian, you know.”
The day before we were scheduled to arrive at her house, Gwen told me on the phone that she had prepared some German Russian foods for us to eat. When I walked into her kitchen, I was astounded! She had homemade foods for us, all right!. She had prepared a traditional “Schmeckfest”.
The foods she prepared included: Knoepfla Suppe, Halupsie, Baked Rice, Cream Cucumbers, Rhubarb Kuchen, Prune Kuchen, and the most delicious Apple Pie.
She fixed sausage she had ordered from Napoleon, North Dakota. We ate these delightful dishes together to celebrate our heritage.
After a delightful visit, we could not leave without “food to go”. This is a German Russian tradition. When you visit someone’s house, you end up well fed and you must take food with you. Gwen packed up kuchen, soup, homemade watermelon pickles, red beet pickles, and homemade salsa. Oh, yes. And a grocery bag full of spiral bound cookbooks because we both have a passion for them.
Meeting Gwen was definitely one of the high lights of my trip. After reading Gwen's story in the Winter 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, I felt connected to her. Her story, "The Girls of '66", won second Place in the 2009 AHSGR Storytelling Contest.