There is a new torch-bearer — someone who is worthy of protecting the Holy Grail.
What is the Holy Grail you ask? My mother’s strudel recipe!
My mother was a great cook. She came from a line of women who could make anything out of nothing. They could make a tasty meal out of turnips and a carrot. That may be a slight exaggeration, but very slight. They lived in hard times and adjusted well.
She had certain recipes that are tradition. You don’t screw with tradition. Some of us have been preserving those traditions for generations coming up but things weren’t looking good.
Younger folks have no interest in the old style of cooking. They prefer quick fixes that you can get at the grocery store. Short cuts! Meals in 30 minutes!
I am not judging here. I love a rotisserie chicken too but there is no potato salad as good as my mother’s with the hot bacon dressing. No way, no how!
There are a few dishes that you just can’t buy. Really good strudel made with hand stretched dough is one of them.
Yes, there is always frozen phyllo sheets at the supermarket but it’s not the same. The recipe for our strudel dough is different although both end up as thin flaky coverings over wonderful fillings. We make our strudel with savory ingredients like cabbage, potatoes or cottage cheese. You can use apple or cherry or other fruit but we don’t.
Since my mother died, I have been the only one in our family that makes it. It’s not hard to make, just tedious and time-consuming. You prep the fillings earlier, maybe even the day before so it’s a two-day affair. Then there is the cleanup. Flour and stuff seems to go everywhere.
I was sure the tradition would end with me but this week my grandniece Jenn asked to come over to learn the trade.
This is great news for several reasons. First, the pressure will be off of me to make it for every family occasion. Yay!
Second I know my mother would be pleased that this tradition which came over from Germany with my grandmother will continue.
We spent yesterday with flour on our clothes and our hands full of cabbage and potatoes. That first taste from the oven made it all worthwhile.
Aside from the cooking, it was great to spend time with my grandniece. I also learned that my mother’s AP cut out cookie recipe was going on at another relative. Yum!
I once again feel connected to family and once again, I didn’t take any memory making pictures. Maybe I need photo therapy. Good thing she brought some chocolate cupcakes so I can forget my shortcomings.