Our part of the prairie was settled over a century ago by German settlers. That German heritage is still a part of our local culture and food is a big part of it. I have not learned any of Nathan’s family German recipes yet but hope to someday. Instead we have Gma Carol who is the German baker and cook. She is superb and knows her family recipes well. Hunter and Elissa especially like kuchen. Pronounce it koo-ken. My family has learned to love kuchen too and we often bring some to them when we visit.
My dearest Southern girlfriend Katie B had asked a while back “what is kuchen???” My best explanation is it is a baked dough, with usually one fruit such as blueberries, peaches, cherries, strawberries and yes even prunes on it. Other kuchens are sometimes sugar or cheese too. Then there is a custard on top, a custard full of goodness and calories! Kuchen is more dessert like to me. But Nathan and Hunter like it for breakfast too. It is served by many with coffee to house guests, found at every local church pot luck, plus you can buy it fresh or frozen at the grocery store. The kuchen I bring to my family is homemade…from the store bakery not my kitchen. There are local contests at county fairs each summer for the best kuchen. We have yet to get Carol to enter but eventually maybe Hunter will convince her to enter. And she will win.
Gma Carol brought us two fresh kuchens recently and Elizabeth wanted some “pizza” for her bedtime snack. I finally figured out it was not pizza she wanted. She wanted kuchen. I told her as she pointed to it on the counter that it is kuchen, not pizza and she said “Yeah! Houken pizza!” So now we call it kuchen pizza at our house. Mayme called during the kuchen pizza snack and our chatty girl keeping chowing down while talking to her Mayme.
My favorite snack recently has been the jars of refridgerator cucumbers that my grandma brought us the weekend of Anika’s baptism. They are like sweet pickles, fresh and crunchy and so yummy. I also had bought lugs of pears and nectarines (from the fruit truck that visits the prairie) and sent many home with my mom and grandma that Sunday. Last Friday we saw my grandma who gave us a box of pear jam from the pears we gave her. Plus she added crabapple jelly that my mom and she had made and gave us garden tomatoes and more cucumbers. Nathan has peanut butter toast with Grandma Nola’s jam on it almost every morning and many mornings we all enjoy it on toast. Every meal we have been using the tomatoes and cucumbers. Today for lunch we had BCT’s that would be bacon, cucumber and tomato sandwiches. I think I liked them better than the traditional BLT’s.
Last night for dessert we ate fresh and warm pumpkin pie from Gma Carol who had made it from the pumpkin Hunter brought her on Sunday night. It was the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted. Canned pumpkin is very boring and blah compared to fresh pumpkin!
With so many homemade items and garden fresh veggies, we certainly did just fine this year not having our own garden! And I do not need to become a kuchen or pie baker or jam maker quite yet because between grandmas and mothers making deliveries we are well fed.