So yesterday, in the quest for the manual for the kitchen timer/temperature probe, I hunted through the file folder in which I stash All The Manuals. I found it, along with some things that didn’t belong in there, namely some of my grandmother’s recipes. They came tucked in a yellowed sheet of paper containing her handwritten recipe for fastnachts–her added note referred to them as “Pennsylvania Dutch doughnuts.” It’s a lengthy recipe, a page and a half of faded red ink, written in her crabbed hand, capped off by a sentence written in dark blue or faded black.
Some of the recipes are cut from newspapers. They’re mostly all for baked goods, doughnuts, or relishes of some sort. All the newspaper is yellowed and brittle. One recipe for “Mrs. Hoak’s Fastnacht Kuechles” is backed by ads for a couple of stores. The phone number for Kiddie Koop Children’s Wear starts with two letters, while the women’s clothing store features a shift dress “For the Mother-to-Be” for $12.95.
Unfortunately, the last part of the recipe was continued on another page, and that part is missing. But I do have Grandma’s handwritten version. The list of ingredients is different, but I am guessing that there are as many fastnacht recipes as there are folks lined up to scarf them down.
A typewritten recipe for Danish Pastry is dated “Sept. 1962.” What looks like a chutney recipe, made with green tomatoes, sweet green peppers, and “hot” red onions. The only one containing meat is one for “Liver Dumplings.” Now, I like liver, but I don’t know if I will try those.
Sour cream coffee cake. Spaetzle. White bread. Tapioca pudding. Chili sauce, in handwriting I don’t recognize, written on note paper advertising the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, nicknamed The Nickel Plate Road.
I will fold these carefully and tuck them inside one of my cookbooks. Then I need to hunt down my mom’s recipes. I know I have one for her sour cream coffee cake, which she got from her mom and for which she was rightly famous. I never cared for it when I was little, but it is the sort of baked good I would love now. Not too sweet, and lovely if lightly toasted.