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Sauerkraut? Um ...


I am on the hunt for authentic German recipes. I’m not sure whether it’s that blustery wind whipping through our Cascade foothills, talk of Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest or just … missing my German grandmothers, both of whom have passed on.

Two of my FB friends have offered delightful menu ideas of which I plan to try this week and my Mom has entered into the spirit by emailing me recipes authentic to the Germans From Russia websites dedicated to those people who lived in the Ukraine area of Russia, where her family resided before immigrating to the U.S.

I have browsed through my more than two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves containing useful and picturesque books illustrating food from all over the world. I am dismayed to admit that of my growing collection of culinary delights, I have no dedicated German cookbooks.

I suppose that when we think of German food, we think heavy, fat laden, and calorie rich. Traditionally, I’ve never done well with that kind of food nor has it ever been enticing. But I have gallons of German blood running through my veins and I am determined to find and build a collection that both represent the German heritage yet gives a nod to today’s healthier lifestyle and palate.

As the leaves turn scarlet and ignite into fiery golden bursts of color, my heart turns to the warm and rich traditions of the hard-working and fun-loving Germanic peoples. I want to capture a snapshot of that essence and at least introduce a little of that culture to my family.

Interesting note regarding German food in the United States: By most accounts, nearly one fourth of the American population claim German ancestry. While at one time, German restaurants set high culinary standards in most major cities; today they are hard to find even in traditionally German cities like Cincinnati, St. Louis and Milwaukee. Nevertheless, both the hamburger and the frankfurter, sausages and cured meats of many varieties, egg noodles and countless other American dishes have German origins.

In Seattle … I’ve not found a good example of exemplary German food restaurants … although I’m not sure where to look! In Portland, however … well, who could ever forget The Rheinlander and its infamous party atmosphere, wandering minstrels, and hardy food.

As the days grow colder, the light dims, and I begin to light my candles and fireplace, it’s comforting to know in part from where you come. I think it is so important for all people and most especially children, to have at least a picture of where their family tree put down its roots because without a history, we can never fully understand the future.

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