Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Melting Pot of Mennonite Cookery

The collection of recipes reached far back into the history of cooking of each of the ethnic groups of which Switzerland, South Germany and the Netherlands were the major backgrounds.

The melting pot of recipes, however, really originated in West Prussia which at times belonged to Germany and at other times to Poland and ultimately into Russia.

Some of the Swiss and South German Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites spread to Russian Poland and Russia.
My wife's family roots go back to Russia.

When Catherine the Great allowed the Mennonites to move out of Russia, they took their wheat with them and continued moving westward.
My wife's ancestors took their wheat to Kansas, found the best region that had soil similar to that of their native land and began farming.

Along with that wheat came the recipes of the food that the Russian Mennonite farmers cooked.
When I was first introduced to my relatives in Kansas, in a Mennonite/Amish community, I was interested in the way of life and the food that was placed on the table at each meal of the day.

I have come away with an appreciation of how simple, yet important mealtime was to the Mennonite/Amish families.
Everything on the table came from the land and the community that they farmed.
One of the best stories that I remember my wife telling me is that she never had sliced bread on the farm.
I  was raised on sliced bread and food that was processed, boxed, or canned.
The idea of making something from scratch had never been part of my upbringing.

When I began traveling to other countries, I realized how important food was to each diverse community in the world. It's personal and it's deep rooted in the history of a place and it's people.

I will continue to post recipes from the Melting Pot of Mennonite Cookery Book, recipes that I grew up with and more of my original ones.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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