There is a giveaway at the end of this blog. But please read first what it is.
The food culture of the Germans from Russia is one of the most preserved culture I have known in the United States’s melting pot of cultures. I didn’t ever truly experience the Germans from Russia culture until I moved to my husband’s hometown in the remote, rural prairie of North Dakota six years ago. Of course I had heard about it. Sausage, kuchen, red eye and a few other foods from friends and my dad’s western North Dakota German heritage through the years as it had trickled into the “Eastern North Dakota” culture I was raised in. But then, I moved here, to Wishek, into the heart of Germans from Russia settled prairie, far from the city lights, from any pop culture tainting the precious and preserved heritage and traditions.
Everything I had heard became reality, multiplied by 100. People spoke in broken German from Russian tongue. I can say a few words in Norwegian, only because I took classes in college to try to maintain the heritage of my mother’s family. I learned to keep my Norwegian quiet in Wishek within my first week of living here. Wilma, in church said to me, “Do you speak CHERMAN?”
Can you hear her accent through my words?I replied, “Jeg snakker litt Norsk.” My husband jumped in, giving me a nudge to my ribs indicating that I should not have said that, “Umm, she speaks a little Norwegian?” Wilma was not impressed. “Vell if you want to live in Vishek, you better learn to speak CHERMAN.”
Well, I have not learned to speak German. But I started living the Germans from Russia culture and blogging about why I must cook cabbage for my husband to be a good prairie wife. Two of our children were born into this culture. The grave sites of my mother-in-law’s German from Russia grandparents are near our home. It’s where my husband’s family came from and it is where our children are from today. Our kids relate to the culture and family heritage because they live it. They now list kuchen as one of their favorite foods!
The culture has influenced me. I started gardening. Pickling. Canning. It was what everyone seemed to do in the Germans from Russia settled American prairie, even in modern-day.
I have learned that if I don’t preserve the Germans from Russia food culture for our children, no one will. It’s our job and I want to learn. My kids adore Saturdays that they can go to Nana’s (my mother-in-law, Carol) to get fresh, homemade sweet rolls. Warm buns are delivered to our house often by mother-in-law. Pumpkins are grown to be made into Blachinda, a pastry filled most often with pumpkin. There is a lot of dough with butter and cream. A lot. Similar to the Norwegian heritage culture I was raised in, but more. Butter. Cream. Dough. Did I mention there is a lot of butter and cream and dough?
Behind the dough are people, who had parents or grandparents that settled in a three county area in our state and have preserved traditions. It’s the people that make the culture survive, that pull of Sauerkraut Day every year in our small town, feeding thousands.
And it’s people, a couple of my friends and others on the Tri-County Tourism Alliance that worked to create this amazing new cookbook and coffee table book, Ewiger Saatz or Everlasting Yeast. There is a story to the title. You must read it for yourself. This is a book by the Germans from Russia, not about them. It’s their stories, their connections to the land and their recipes.
I am going to give a few copies as gifts this year and am keeping it under wraps for them. But I have read many stories and recipes in it. It has inspired me. I bought a used stove for $50 to create a “Summer Kitchen” in a shed in our yard. Seriously, how German from Russia prairie woman of me. Carol and I will be cooking and baking together more often so I can indeed learn to make these recipes. Ham in a blanket. Cheese Buttons. Meat Pie. Sauerkraut. Potato Buns. Schlitz Kuehla. I might need to learn to speak German.
The book is so wonderful I left my copy with my Norwegian heritage Grandma Nola this week for her to page through it. Because you do not have to be from here to love this book.
The stories, the photos, the old recipes, the traditions are all captured into over 100 pages, in one hard-covered book. It is not another cookbook. It is a treasure, whether you have any tie to Germans from Russia or not. It is the true American story of survival, captured through photos, old recipes, and personal story telling.
You want a copy by now I am sure and details are here. It is $75, plus shipping. The proceeds go back to the Tri-County Tourism Alliance (like them on Facebook, German Russian Country) to continue their projects of preserving the food culture of the Germans from Russia in Emmons, Logan and McIntosh Counties in North Dakota.
The stories and recipes of Ewiger Saatz have captivated me. I want you to have a chance to have your own copy so I am giving away two copies. You have two chances to enter:
1. Tell me in a comment on this blog post why you read this blog. This is unscientific research for me as I plan a blog content redesign. Be honest and if you don’t read my blog, you can tell me that too. But I hope you do read and tell me why you do. Your comment enters you in the giveaway.
2. Subscribe to my blog by email in the right column of this blog. Tell me in a comment that you subscribe by email.
Two chances to win. Two copies will be given away to two lucky winners. Simple as that. With shipping this is a $90 value per cookbook, but consider it a gift from the Germans from Russia food culture of North Dakota. And there is not any fancy disclosures or advertising to list out. I bought these as gifts to share with you.
I will draw on Tuesday night, August 13 and announce on August 14 on my Facebook page the two winners and include in a post.
So please, share with your friends. Depending on the success of this giveaway, I might do more cookbook giveaways. And more Germans from Russia cultural giveaways. Like blood sausage and headcheese? They are readily available in my one and only grocery store. The giveaway possibilities are endless!
Now I’m off to make some food. To share with friends.
This giveaway is complete. To see the winners, click here.