Archive for November, 2010

Wild Turkey photo by Henry Zeman posted by Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves

Happy Thanksgiving, all my family and friends and anyone else visiting this blog!

Twelve of us had a delicious and joyful meal together, begun by two graces said by my grandson Nathan, one in English and one in Hungarian. Interestingly they both really express the very same thoughts.

Alice roasted a wonderful turkey and Emily made a delicious cranberry ginger relish and two pies – Cranberry cream pie (with orange juice) and pumpkin. I made vegetarian stuffing, brussel sprouts roasted with cream and pistachios, and red and lance kale sauteed with many leeks. Andy and Ingmar were busy early in the morning peeling potatoes for an army. Andy wanted to do a presentation with sweet potatoes in the outer ring, “regular” mashed potatoes in the middle and fabulous basil-garlic-potatoes in the center. One of my sisters-in-law and her dear husband supplied more plain and smoked turkey plus a huge platter of strudel of every sort from Lydia’s Hungarian bakery.   There was a walk for most of us between dinner and dessert and after all the food, we sipped 2001 5 puttonyos Tokaj Aszu wine which was a lovely end to the feast! I think I have some photos of this which I may post soon, but in the meantime, here is one of the best pictures of wild turkeys I’ve ever seen. There are many flocks of them around our area and sometimes they act like a troupe of clowns as they cross the road together.

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Stiglmeier Sausage Co. Logo

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I wish you a happy and delicious day of feasting on a traditional Turkey dinner with your loved ones. In fact we plan to do that later today, in about twelve hours, at my daughter Alice’s,  but last evening we gathered together at my home for a German dinner in honor of my son in law Ingmar who grew up in a village a little south of Munich and met my daughter Emily there during her junior year abroad at the University .  She was inspired by her Dad’s time there in the late 60s and early 70s when he was a mitarbiter there.

I went a bit crazy buying things from the wonderful Stiglmeier Sausage Company in Illinois and decided it would be fun to do this. Emily came over to help me get the house ready and set the table. My son Andy kindly put the two leaves in the table. And wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to take any pictures in my flurry of cooking. It wasn’t that much cooking, but when one is older it is interesting how much more slowly things are accomplished!

From Stiglmeier I had bought a one pound Sauerbraten with their dumplings. It was delicious, but I think next year if I do this, I may do my own sauerbraten, and use more meat.

Sauerbraten from their website

What I did cook was a pan of Kase Spatzle for all of us, but especially with vegetarian Andy in mind, and a pot of Semmel Knoedel which turned out very well for the first time I made it, and sweet and sour cabbage. We also had Stiglmeier’s wonderful smoked goose with German bread, and pickles and Bavarian mustard. And a hot red cabbage which is also rather sweet and sour, but different from mine. We drank Elderflower Presse, the last of the bottles I bought last year. Alas, it seems World Market will not have this anymore! And we also drank a nice Merlot from Yellow Tail.

Stiglmeier's delicious smoked goose

For those who are not familiar with the Kase Spaetzle as I make it it’s  just a version of macaroni and cheese, but much more delicious. I cook very wide egg noodles and layer them in the dish with grated cheese. I used Adam’s Reserve which is our favorite sharp cheddar and a new-to-us sharp provolone. When these layers were done, I mixed an egg with a cup of milk and poured it over the pan and baked it in a 350F degree oven for at least thirty minutes until it is a bit deliciously browned on top.  My six year old grandson Nathan said, “Wow, what a kickoff for Thanksgiving dinner!” It was a little crazy around here, but I think everyone had a good time and in a few months I may even be ready to think of doing it again next year.

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My Heart melts!

My youngest grandson Stephen Paul, Smiling in his sleep

This is actually my daughter’s photograph of my newest grandchild, born October 6th. Isn’t he just dear! (An obviously rhetorical question!) May he be blessed with every blessing. And I wish all the children on this planet would be blessed with the same blessings, wonderful loving parents and family, a good home, possibilities of knowing the beauty and goodness of the world, of learning the wisdom of the ages, of having all the material needs met, of health and well-being in a world of peace. And let us all do all we can to make this possible.

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Remember a while ago when I wrote about my brother-in-law Pater Franz, the Jesuit in Germany? Well he is the little boy in this picture, with his oldest sister Isa who lived here in the states for thirty years and moved back to Hungary when communism fell.  I have been looking at some old family photographs and thinking about all the things that would happen in the lives of these people that they had no idea about when the pictures were taken…..

Both these children would live through wars and revolutions and experience being refugees. Both, on different continents,  would spend time in prison because of their actual or suspected political views.

It still feels astonishing to me as an American who was born at the end of WWII.

I think there is some sort of plan or pattern to all that happens, but I don’t think we really see it too well from where we stand. At least, I don’t think that I do……

I am always simply left feeling  a deep gratitude for all the blessings I have been given. And a feeling that I should somehow bless others in some way. Perhaps this is all we can really know about life. Just put one foot in front of the other, with joy. I think of  the verse from Micah which says, ”  …And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”

A Brother-in-Law and a Sister-in-law as children in the 1920s

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An Afternoon in Wooster

The Old County Courthouse in Wooster, Ohio

Today my son was bored with staying in the house on a sunny fall day (even if a little cold) and asked me what we could do. I suggested a drive down to Wayne County, to Wooster. This takes at least 45 minutes and the road lies in rolling farmland. Wayne County doesn’t have as big an Amish population as neighboring Holmes County, south of us, which still has the largest Amish population in the world, I believe, but there are many Amish here and the atmosphere is similar.


I was hoping we could have a late lunch in one of the organic and very nice restaurants I discovered with my friend Nancy when we drove down to see the printer about the book she is writing. Alas, they are closed on Sunday. But we went to a buffet at The Barn in Smithville and enjoyed it quite well.  Andy was laughing at the kids who were feeding the ducks and then trying to shoo them away.

We passed a huge field of pumpkins which I think will now just be left to rot back into the soil. It was the potato farm where they sell Halloween pumpkins in September and October.

Such a peaceful afternoon enjoying the blue skies. Now that daylight savings time is over for 2010 we really need to enjoy the light we do have! A lot of people seemed to be doing the same thing.

pumpkins for sale a few weeks ago

The Barn, where small children were feeding ducks this afternoon

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A Weekend in Bellefonte

My favorite bumble bee

I had a lovely time visiting my granddaughters (and their parents) this last Halloween weekend. Sofia was a Bee in honor of a favorite German cartoon character, Biena Maja, and little Clara was a pumpkin. We enjoyed some of the last lovely weather of the autumn of 2010.  Gorgeous fall color driving across Pennsylvania on I 80!

I drove home on Monday, voted early on Tuesday and drove off to Pittsburgh to see a doctor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Shadyside, a very big center for melanoma research. I was truly impressed with the doctor/scientist I saw. He took a lot of time to explain many things to me, and drew pictures, and it looks as though there may be a chance I won’t have to have interferon therapy. The slides from earlier tests are being reexamined. This doctor gave me a lot of confidence.

While in Bellefonte, Emily and I spent some time repairing some things of the girls. Clara’s backpack only said “LAR” so we reattached the C and the A. Sofia had a NASA patch I bought for her which was about the joint German American project SOFIA which stands for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. And we worked on a little dog which is made mostly of quilt yo-yos. This is still being worked on! But we had so much fun hanging out together and playing with the girls. I am so blessed! And this is the special month to appreciate that!

A shame this is so dark. It is truly Clara in her wistful mood. A melancholy baby.........

a favorite game

SOFIA a joint German American Production

Emily repairing a toy dog

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