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Why are foodways important?

Foodways is the study of what people eat and why. Why we procure, prepare and serve the food we do has cultural, sociological, geographical, financial and political influences.

 

 

Why is recognition of diverse foodways valuable?

Preserving our past and present for the future by research, documentation and oral histories. It is culinary anthropology on the hoof, paw, root and leaf.

 

 

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1st Prize, Minnesota State Fair, 2015

 

Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance

FAMILY HEIRLOOM RECIPES

Family Favorites Never Served to Guests

(or whatever you like)

 

Minnesota State Fair

August 22,  2015

 

First Prize Winner

 

fruit kuchen

(Image by Catherine Lambrecht)

 

First Prize:

Lilian Beuscher's Fruit Kuchen

Barb A. Lutz, Elk River, Minnesota

 

 

Lilian's fruit kuchen (German cake) has been a favorite of mine since 1965, especially the

peach and plum combination. My mother became acquainted with Lilian at church. One

day in 1965 she brought my sister and I along to visit Lilian unannounced at her home in

Germantown, Wisconsin. She lived in a very big farmhouse just a couple of miles from

our home. Upon entering her home, my sister and I had spotted these kuchens and had

asked her about them. She told us that she had made them for the farm hands (threshing

crew) that day. We knew the only way we were going to taste that yummy looking cake

was to make our own. So that's when my sister and I asked her for the recipe. My sister

Delores (then 11) copied Lilian's recipe. I have included my sister's copy of the original

recipe in my exhibit of which is dated August 1965 the date she copied it. Delores and I

were 4-Her's and loved to bake and cook. We made the fruit kuchens many times for our

family. It was a quick and easy treat to make and we could use whatever fruit we had on

hand. Our grandmother lived next door and she had the apple, cherry, plum and pear

trees. We had the rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries. Also, we liked the fact that the

recipe made 2 cakes not just 1 with very little ingredients.

 

Lilian was in her 90's in 1965 which means she would have been born in the 1870's. Her

parents were Hunsruck German immigrants which created the first commercial

community in 1842, named Dheinsville. Lilian never married and had lived in the big

farmhouse her parents had built and left her. Lilian raised chickens, ducks and geese and

hired farni hands that worked the land. My family lived a mile from Dheinsville on

Maple Road and Lilian lived a mile from Dheinsville on Holy Hill Road. In 1975

Dheinsville became a historical community. The process of restoring the buildings began,

whereby today they are open to tourists. The main attraction is the church which I

attended until I was 13 or it's closing in 1965 and the cemetery where the first settlers are

buried along with my ancestors on up to and including my parents and Lilian's too. I have

included a cookbook in my exhibit published by the Dheinsville Historical which

contains historical recipes and the history of Germantown and Dheinsville.

 

My sister and I never asked Lilian how old her kuchen recipe was so I began to do some

research on the recipe itself Lihan used a pint Jar to measure the flour. In 1858, an

inventor and tin smith from New York City, John L. Mason invented and patented the

mason jar. The standardized measuring cup was invented by Fannie Farmer in the year

1896. Then to my surprise oleo margarine which I thought was a 1950's invention,

actually was originally created from beef tallow and skimmed milk in 1869 in France. In

1871 Henry Bradley of New York received a US patent for a process of crafting

margarine that combined vegetable oils (primarily cottonseed oil) with animal fats.

Commercial oleo margarine was produced between 1900 and 1920. Baking tins were

used earlier than 1950. The hard roll was being made in the 1700's with German

influence. I am going to conclude that Lilian's kuchen recipe was passed on from her

parents. I am also submitting a recipe with more precise measurements. Today there is

an apple orchard where Lilian's house once stood. How ironic. Lots of apple kuchens to

be made

 

 

First Prize:

Lilian Beuscher's Fruit Kuchen

Barb A. Lutz, Elk River, Minnesota

 

 

2 cups unbleached pre-sifted flour

1/2 cup nnargarine or butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg

1 cup whole milk

 

Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans. In a large bowl combine margarine/butter and

cream. Add egg and mix well. In another bowl mix together flour, salt and baking

powder. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to creamed mixture and mix well.

Divide mixture and spread in bottom of both pans. Top each with 3 sliced peaches and 3

sliced plums, pressing lightly into the dough mixture. Sliced apples, chopped rhubarb,

berries or other fruit of your liking can be used; use enough fruit to completely cover the

dough mixture. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over fruit of each kuchen or to your desired taste.

Dot each kuchen with 2 Tablespoons of butter and top each with 1/4 cup hard roll

crumbs or plain toasted bread crumbs. Sprinkle each kuchen with 1 teaspoon of

cinnamon over the crumbs. Amounts can vary according to your liking. Bake in a 350

degree oven for about 40 to 45 minutes. Makes 2 kuchens.