Posted August 28, 2010on:
I consider myself fortunate to be part of a wonderful, huge, German-Canadian family. My great grandparents, Henry and Katharina Hoffman, arrived in Canada from South Russia in 1909, and for the past twenty-five years, we have been meeting for a reunion once every 5 years. This summer we met in the beautiful central Alberta area near Ponoka. It was so great to see all my many cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings. We ate fabulous German food, caught up, played games, went canoeing and were entertained. It didn’t matter that it rained at times, we just moved inside to eat, visit, share news and reminisce. Just being together was all that mattered. Family pictures were taken and loved ones no longer with us were fondly remembered. I attended with my mother, my aunt, my daughter and my grandson. Six generations were represented as my grandmother’s younger sister is still with us at 91 years young. (on the picture she is seated second from the right with a baby on her lap.)
The most popular event, after the German meal, of course, was the silent auction. Family members donate items and others bid on them to raise funds for the next reunion in five years. The bidding is fierce as everyone vies for cherished items such as hand knitted afghans, homemade wine, jams, pickles and many other treasures. There is much friendly competition, no one gets hurt and most leave with something to take home.
My great-grandparents crossed the ocean on a cattle ship with three toddlers and my grandmother on the way. They stopped in Winnipeg long enough for my grandmother to be born and then carried on to set up a farm in south-eastern Alberta where they had nine more children. They brought with them a strong work ethic, incredible tenacity and the love of family. There are now well over two hundred of us descendants. We have chosen many different walks of life, there are not many farmers left, but the love of family has stayed strong throughout the generations.
The love and feeling of camaraderie was everywhere that weekend and I know that no matter what happens in my life, my family will always be there for me. What a comforting thought. Speaking of comfort, when I need comfort food, I usually long for German food.
Now if only I could make saskatoon kuchen, perogies or knepfla with sauerkraut that tastes as good as it does at the reunion.
Here is a recipe for those who would like to try.
Best German Kuchen
4 cups of flour 1 cup margarine or butter
2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt
2 eggs in measuring cup and milk enough to make 1 ½ cups
6 eggs 2 cups sour cream
1 ½ cups sugar 2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. vanilla ½ tsp. baking powder
750 gm. cottage cheese
¾ cup butter 2 cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar Pinch of salt
Make dough by mixing dry ingredients together
Beat 2 eggs in a measuring cup and add milk to make 1 ½ cups.
Mix and knead well
Let dough rest for 30 minutes (dough will be soft)
Roll out dough for 6 -8 pies and pat into pie pans
Beat all filling ingredients together except cottage cheese
Fold in cottage cheese.
Put cream filling on top of dough in pans
Place your favourite fruit on top (Fresh or frozen). My favourite is Saskatoon berries but apples, peaches, blueberries, plums etc are all good.
Rub ingredients of crumbs together if using and spread evenly over kuchen.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 350 F for 35 – 40
May be frozen and served later for unexpected guests!