Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Yummy Recipes


(Cinnamon Stars)
A Christmas Cookie

Re-roll dough scraps, cut and glaze as

Removed before glaze starts to brown.

Cool on wire racks. Store in covered
cookie tins for two weeks.


2-3 cups ground unblanched almonds
1-2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 egg whites
dash of salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine 2 cups of the ground almonds
with cinnamon in mixing bowl, set aside.

In a separate bowl, use a mixer to beat
egg whites and salt until frothy.

Gradually add powdered sugar while
beating; beat mixture 5 more minutes.

Blend remaining egg white batter into
almond mixture; add lemon juice and
lemon zest.

Knead dough by hand and let dough rest
at least 10 minutes.

Dust a pastry board with powdered

Gently press dough onto pastry board
with your :fingers until 1/3 inch thick.
(Dough will be sticky, add more ground
almonds as needed.)

Carefully cut the dough with a 3 inch
star shaped cookie cutter and place on
baking sheet.

Brush each star with egg white glaze.

In a preheated oven at 275 degrees F,
bake 20 minutes on greased cookie


(Baked Apples)

4 tart green apples (Granny Smith)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup honey
4 Tablespoons butter

Hollow out the apples by removing the
core, making a well, but not removing
the bottom.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl to
create the filling.

Place the apples in a shallow baking pan.

. Stuff the apples with the filling.

Bake apples at 350 degrees F for 30 to
40 minutes, until apples are tender.

Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

(I borrowed these recipes from Sharon White's Warenburg Newsletter. They just looked too good to pass up!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010



I hate to admit that this was my first ever attempt at baking kuchen, but it turned out beautifully. I used one of the recipes in our Intermountain Chapter Cookbook. Here you can see my handsome grandson holding the pan of kuchen that I made for our Christmas Eve dinner and party. Wishing you all a merry and blessed Christmas!
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Weigant History

My grandparents, the Weigants and Spahns, came from a Volga town called Pfeifer. They lived only a few blocks away from each other. Casper Weigant and Susanna Spahn were married in Pfeifer and were among the late Russian German immigrants to the USA. They departed Pfeifer March 12, 1914, by train to Bremen, Germany, and then onto the Steamship SS Breslau. They arrived in Boston Harbor, having spent $32 for the third-class passage.
Susie and Casper were married in Russia and saved up enough money to come to America with the help of John, Casper's brother. John told them there was plenty of work in America. They left Russia with only $33 on them. Their passage across the Atlantic took three weeks. Susie said she saw mermaids in the water, but it was probably seaweed. The journey from the German colonies to an area along the Russian Volga River, and then to North America, was not an easy one. It involved numerous modes of transportation, including trains and ships. The trans-Atlantic portion could take as little as two weeks or as long as a couple of months, depending upon the weather conditions, the age of the ship, the time of year, and many other factors. The reason for such a long trips was that in the north sea, the ships did not travel at night because of the risk of hitting an ice burg. So they would stay motionless while waiting for the morning light. Susie was pregnant with son Casper, my dad, during the trip to the U.S. She gave birth to my dad in Minnesota on October 3, 1914. Soon after that they moved to Oregon with my Great Uncle John.

(Contributed by Robert Weigant.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More on Pfeifer, Russia

Today the village of Pfeifer is an unpopulated city of ruins, except for a small store. At one time the city had 89 families. Surely everyone knew each other in this small town. In 1888 there were no more then 1500 people there. The land was divided among the families according to the number of males.

After 1881, Russian Germans were required to study Russian in school and lost all their remaining special privileges. Many Germans remained in Russia, particularly those who had done well as Russia began to industrialise in the late 19th century.

Many of these Germans hoped to find an escape from political repression. They also desired to preserve their old way of life. As nationalism grew in central Europe, the Russian government could no longer justify the special status of its German colonists. In 1870 they announced a Russification plan that would end all special privileges by 1880.

Mennonites were particularly alarmed at the possibility of losing their exemption from military service and their right for schools to use the German language, which they believed was necessary to maintain their cultural and religious life. A number of delegates journied to Petersburg after meeting with the czar and returned with positive reports of good land available in Manitoba, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Many of their descendants are living in these places today.

(Contributed by Robert Weigant.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

History of Fredrich and Marie Kathryn Schmidt Benzel

Fred was born 14 June 1885, in Kolb, (Peskovatka) Russia and died 1973, in Hardin, Big Horn, Montana.

Kathryn was born 2 August 1889, in Neu Messer, Russia and died 29 June 1965, Hardin, Montana. Kathryn never learned to speak English, her parents and other members of her family remaining in Russia starved to death during the famine.

Fred and Marie Kathryn were married in Kolb, Russia, January 2, 1911, and immigrated to the United States aboard the ship, “Bruntenburg”, arriving at Baltimore, Maryland. Tragedy struck the young family as their infant son Fredrick died at sea.

Fred and Kathryn traveled to Ritzville, Washington where they rented a farm from 1912 through 1917. Sons Fred and Arthur were born in Tacoma and Ritzville. Fred Sr. decided to leave Washington in 1917 and relocated the family to Rifle, Colorado; joining his brother John. Four children were born in Rifle; Edward, Carl, Mary, and Hilda.

Another move took the growing family to Hardin, Big Horn, Montana to begin farming sugar beets for Great Western Sugar Beet Company. Children John, Harold, and Lora were born in Hardin.

 Lora Benzel married Charles Raymond Hert in Hardin, Montana
 John Benzel remained on the family homestead and farms sugar beets with his sons and grandsons.
 Benzel family reunion is scheduled for July 2012 in Hardin, Montana

Fred and Kathryn lived the remainder of their lives in Hardin. Fred was described as fair haired with blue eyes. Kathryn was olive skinned, dark hair with brown eyes. Fred was very strong willed, insisting that the men eat first at family functions, children next and women last. His word was law. Kathryn was described as warm and loving. While the men sat in the living room the women gathered in the kitchen to chat. Children learned at a young age to remain seated and quiet around grandpa.

Fred’s family:
Father- Georg Heinrich (1848 Kolb –1920 Kolb)
Mother- Maria Katrina Schmidt (1848 Neu Messer – 1920 Kolb)

Grandfather – Johannes (1809 Kolb – unk Kolb)
Grandmother-Barbara, surname unknown (born 1807 – unk Kolb)

G Grandfather –Johann Uhlich (1773 Kautz – 1847 Kolb)
G Grandmother- Maria Dorothea Achziger (1775 Kolb – 1850 Kolb)

GG Grandfather-Valentine (1747 Engheim, Germany – 1798 Kautz)
GG Grandmother- Anna E. Koch (Germany – Kautz)

Marie’s family:
Father – Henry (1866 Neu Messer death date unknown)
Mother – Katrina Scheibel (1868 – 1921 Neu Messer)

Grandfather – Peter Schmidt (1833 – death date unknown)
Grandmother – unknown.

(Contributed by Dee Hert.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Winch

I thought you might like to have the winch, spoken of in the previous post, in a more complete form. So here it is:

The Winch (“Wunsch” or “Wuensch”)
“Ich wuensch eich ein Gluckseliges Neujahr, langes Leben, Gesundheit, Frieden und Einigheit, nach eirem Tod die ewige Gluckseligkeit.”
Translation: I wish you a Happy New Year, long life, health, peace and harmony, and after your death eternal happiness.
(This first small section above is about all that most of my generation ever knew, but if you knew more you might add…)
“Und das Liebe Jesulein im Grublein soll eir nei Jahr sein.”
The translation? Perhaps something like this: And may the dear Jesus meditate for all of you in the New Year.
The host would reply---
Des wuensche mir eich ach!
Translation: Wish you the same.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


"Wunschen" (wish) is a tradition which has been passed down through generations of Germans from Russia and is still in existence and practiced today. This tradition is a somewhat common event among those descendants of Germans who came to the United States
from Russia during the middle of the 19th century, and later.

It is a practice which takes place on New Year's Day and involves relatives and friends visiting each other throughout the day. These visits are still made today to the homes of those who have the desire to participate.

When I was a youngster in the thirties, we lived in the 100 block of South Quincy. It was common practice to start immediately after eight o'clock Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church on New Years Day visiting grandparents, godparents, uncles/aunts and
friends for the purpose of "wunschen". Practically all of these relatives and friends lived within walking distance of church, an area bounded by Harrison, Jefferson, First, and Fourth Streets. Therefore, one didn't have to travel very far to "make the rounds".

This visit entailed a greeting by each visitor, including the children, to the host(s) "wishing" them a Happy New Year. The normal greeting, always spoken in German, went something like this: "Ich wunschen euch ein Gluckliches Neues Jahr, lange leben, gesundheit, friede und einigheit, nach euer tod die ewige glueckseligkeit". For the pure German, the spelling may not be correct, but this is as we knew it. Translation (as we knew it): I wish you a Happy New Year, long life, health, peace and harmony, and
after your death - eternal happiness.

The host's kitchen, dining room table, or both, were filled with eats of all sorts. This included ham and home-baked breads, but mostly home-made goodies such as "galreih" or "zitter" (a type of headcheese), "blut wurst" (blood sausage), and grebble (the original funnel cake). In all of this the "wunschers" participated.
The adults were each offered "ein bissa schnapps" (a little schnapps), which was usually illegal, hard liquor cooked by anyone who had a still, or access to a still, or knew a bootlegger. The polite thing to do was to ask the host to take the first
drink "stech in ihr hand" (keep in your hand). Of course, if the host stayed home the entire day, he/she might possibly be a little tipsy by mid-afternoon or evening.

I remember many an early morning of New Years, (usually about 12:20AM), when one of our uncles would come "wunschen", breaking the early morning silence with a shotgun blast in the air. My folks' home was his second stop — he first visited the home of his mother and father immediately after midnight, which was just a block away.By daybreak, our uncle had already "made the rounds" and wasn't really ready or able to receive any visitors at his house. What a way to start the new year!

One of the things we children really looked forward to was the anticipation of "wie viel gelt" (how much money) one would accumulate by the end of the day. A nickel or dime, in those days, was hard to come by, and how we so cherished the "gelt" from each
family we visited.

(Thanks to Mike Beier for sharing his family's tradition with us.)

Monday, December 13, 2010



Dating from the 12th century, and symbolizing the Holy Child wrapped in cloth, this traditional German Christmas cake is made from a rich yeast dough with dried fruits.

The recipe that I found for stollen has the dough wrapped around marzipan. I wonder if anyone reading this blog might have a recipe without the marzipan. I'd love to have you share a recipe for stollen if you have a good one.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Traditional Christmas Tree Ornaments


During the cold winter months in Germany, glassblowers often kept birds in cages to offer them shelter and to enjoy their melodies. These birds gave craftsmen companionship and inspiration for creating new ornament moulds. Birds are symbols for joy and happiness. They are said to be messengers from God and the embodiment of souls.


Long ago in Germany, the famous pickle legend came to be a fun game for the entire family. No one knows who, what, or why, but it's a Christmas tradition to be enjoyed even by the most shy. Hidden in the branches of every Christmas tree, children of all ages hunt for the pickle in green. The younger the child the bigger the pickle is. As we grow, the pickle size gets smaller and presents big challenges. Hunt for the pickle; search for it, but your hands must be behind. Do not touch the tree, or you'll lose the prize in mind. If you find that hidden gurken, you are the lucky one, as there is a special present waiting for you.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

German Christmas Party




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The Intermountain Chapter AHSGR had a fabulous Christmas party! We enjoyed a meal of German foods and deserts while we visited with each other and shared Christmas traditions and memories. (Hopefully I can share some of those with you in posts that will follow.) The decorations and holiday spirit was wonderful as well. We had a game exchanging tree ornaments which was lots of fun. We closed our December party singing beautiful Christmas carols in German. It was a memorable event that left me feeling grateful for my heritage, friends, and family.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Party

Our Intermountain Chapter Christmas party will be held on December 11 at the home of Carol Harless and Shawnette Malan, 10001 Hook Drive, South Jordan. We will meet at 12:00 noon. Everyone should bring a Christmas ornament to exchange. German food will be served. There will be German brats, two sides, and a dessert. Cost for dinner is $10.00. Please RSVP with Dee by December 4th.

Future Chapter Member

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Zachary White, grandson of Intermountain Chapter member Sharon White, is in his German lederhosen costume ready for next year's Oktoberfest.