When I was 14, I was the designated care-giver for my grandmother who had just had double eye surgery. I was nurse-aid, housekeeper and cook.
One day as she was lying on the living room sofa, my grandmother announced that we needed to bake bread that day. I listened carefully to her instructions:
Take the medium-sized kettle, fill it half-way with water, heat the water until it is warm, and pour it into the large mixing bowl.
Add two large spoons of oil.
Add a little sugar and about 2 teaspoons of salt.
Stir in two packages of yeast.
Start adding flour, stirring it in well. Keep adding flour and stirring until the dough forms, but is not too stiff.
About this time, I started looking for written recipes. In the very back of the lower cupboard (that was almost impossible to reach because the door was partially blocked by the stove) I found a wooden recipe box. Inside the box were recipes my grandmother had clipped from packages of flour, sugar, cornmeal, etc. Not one of the recipes, I am sure, had ever been used!
My grandmother never used recipes – and neither did her mother. This is typical of our Germans from Russia ancestors. That is why “most of the recipes have not survived.” Their recipes were in their heads and in their hands, rarely on paper.
Submitted by Connie Dahlke
(grand-daughter of Martha (Rott) Ringering – b. 1901, Richville Twp, Logan Cnty, N. Dakota)