Category: Aroma of Bread

The Kitchen is the Place for Celebrations

This archived post is the first that I wrote for “The Aroma of Bread,” and was published 23 May 2012. It seems that I had high hopes for participation.

Four months ago we celebrated Marie’s life as family and friends gathered for a final farewell. As it usually does, the topic soon turned to bread. Not just any bread, but Marie’s famous loaves. The best bread stories are told by the the family of Butch’s younger sister, and that day was no exception. The first bread story was told by Mike. The family drove up to Hollandtown from Rockford on a fairly regular basis, and on one particular visit, Syd must have had a lead foot as they arrived to find Marie still on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor.

This past Saturday, May 19th we celebrated. We honored two people who mean so much to us. Butch and Marie Fassbender, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma Marie and Poppa. As the weekend was all about memories, my family gathered at our table for dinner and talked some more. This time the conversation turned to Marie’s recipes that we have been gathering and scanning. I am still hoping to find her index card box which contains so many handwritten favorites, but we have made a start with her cookbooks, and all the recipes that have a handwritten notation. 

This blog is for us, her family. As we scan a batch of recipes they will be first posted here for you to comment on – share your memories of your favorites. We will then include these memories in the printed version.

But! She was not totally unprepared as the house was filled with the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread, and the counters were filled with the mornings baking. Standing in the entry, Mike yelled: “Hey Marie! Throw me a loaf!” And she did. The kids high-tailed it off to the factory for some fresh butter, and a favorite snack.

But the story that had us laughing till tears were streaming down our face was one that Kady shared. Her mother Hank was determined to learn the secret to Marie’s bread. There HAD to be a secret as she was not able to come close to producing a loaf as fine as her sister-in-laws. On another visit, Hank found herself alone in the house, Marie had gone somewhere – possibly to the grocery store, so Hank set out to determine the magic ingredient. She opened every cupboard, scanned the labels of every block of yeast, looked at the brand of flour, the type of bowl, the size of the loaf pan, and she also hunted for the recipe. We could just see her, one ear cocked for the slam of a car door, snooping and looking, and digging in the cupboards. Frustrated that she was coming up empty.

Marie just had a knack. She made bread by “feel.” She added flour till it “felt” right, and to watch her in front of her huge bowl (a bowl almost as big as she was) as she kneaded, and kneaded that dough, was something to see. I believe the magic ingredient was her love. What is your favorite bread story? Please share in the comment section below.

The following recipe is not THE bread recipe, but one that Marie deemed: “(Good)”

St. Mary’s Hilbert Cookbook, 1970ca, p. 1

The 4th of July is for Celebrations

This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 2 July 2012.

Any excuse for a party. Life was for working hard, and when the time was right, relaxing well with family and friends.

As we approach July 4th, my mind wandered to some pictures that I recently catalogued. To celebrate July 4, 1948, the family gathered in Dundas, at the home of Cub and Dolores. They set up an assortment of chairs in what appears to have been their side yard. The kids played, the dog did tricks, and everyone waited for the parade to start.

The Vande Yacht’s dog was a great one for tricks, and he was soon providing entertainment.

The kids started to get excited as the sounds of the parade became louder. White Clover Dairy’s entry this year was a truck carrying a large cow, and a sign that read: “Honest This is no BULL” WHITE CLOVER DAIRY is the BEST MARKET for your MILK.

Asking Gary if he remembers one special recipe that his mother would consistently bring to/make for, outdoor gatherings, his answer was rolls. She was known for her amazing hamburger and brat buns. Starting a few days before the party, she would start baking, making dozens of rolls. I am sure that she put in more hours of preparation for a “simple” outdoor gathering than any other person attending the party. 

For this post, I have chosen a fruity bar recipe. Although I don’t remember ever having eaten it, Marie marked it as “V. Good.”

St. Mary’s Hilbert Cookbook, 1970s

It’s the Whisky

This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 19 Jun 2012.

I was reading Dick Eastman’s Newsletter this morning and I read an article about the original recipe for Jack Daniel’s being found in a Welsh book of herbal remedies. Presumably, John ‘Jack the Lad’ Daniel’s left Wales for Lynchburg, Tennessee and was not heard from after a few letters. It was during this period that Jack Daniel’s Whisky was born. 

While this is not a recipe from Marie’s collection, it is a post that was inspired by a recipe, the recipe for Jack Daniel’s.  Butch enjoyed whisky, be it Jack Daniel’s or the brand he drank most often in his later years, Early Times. An Early Times and seltzer was a great way to start an evening out with friends.

In late summer 1949, probably in September, Butch and Marie joined Otto and Cel Hannen on a road trip to New Orleans. On their way south, they stopped at the Cherokee Dam on the Holston River in East Tennessee. The dam had been built recently, being completed in 1942, and we all know that Butch would have found the whole mechanics of it fascinating. In the hotel room that night, they enjoyed a night cap of whiskey – for this occasion they chose Jim Beam.

We always had a bottle of whiskey in the bar, ready for a visit from Butch. In 2000 when I was looking for a bottle of whisky to use in a new recipe, I pulled out the Early Times. It is the perfect whiskey for this recipe.

Grilled Orange-and-Bourbon Salmon

Description: Charlene Schubert, Alpharatta, GA, Cooking Light Magazine, June 1999, page 142

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Bourbon
  • ¼ cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • ¼ cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Chopped Green Onions
  • 3 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Chives
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 4 (6-ounce) Salmon Fillets (About 1 Inch Thick)
  • Cooking Spray

Directions: 

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add salmon to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 ½ hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place salmon on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade.

NOTE: This recipe is the best with a lesser grade of bourbon, such as Butch’s favorite: Early Times

Grasshoppers for Everyone!

This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 17 Jun 2012.

Today is Father’s Day, and in honor of today this post is about Butch. I scrolled through the photos that  have been scanned searching for one in which he was pictured with all four boys. All but impossible to find! One or the other was always missing. So instead I have chosen an image of Butch that is very familiar to us, him sitting in a comfy chair feeding a baby. What makes this image so special is that it is not a grandchild that he is so lovingly gazing at, but his own baby son. 

But on with the post:

My father-in-law loved to entertain. He loved nothing more than to arrive home and announce to Marie that he had invited a few people over for food – be it dinner, hors d’oeuvres or maybe just drinks with the ever present cheese.

He also loved to invite everyone to the “New Bar” for a Grasshopper after a Saturday night dinner at Van Abels. We would get up from the table and he would be leading the way, encouraging all to follow him, and he would start taking orders and telling the bartender what we would need. For him the perfect end to an evening, was more great conversation and relaxing with the people he loved.

While that is MY memory of Grasshopper drinks, easily retrieved from the bartender, Gary remembers the night that his dad played bartender. He and Marie were entertaining on the patio one beautiful summer evening, most likely Hank and Syd, the Van Abels, and other old friends were gathered in the balmy air. As dinner wound down it was time to take the orders for Grasshoppers. Getting an enthusiastic response, Butch headed into the kitchen to start mixing. While getting out the blender, his eye fell on Marie’s Mix-Master…..hmmmm….he could make quick work of getting everyone their drinks if he used the Mix-Master over the blender. Quick quantity was what he was after!! I can just imagine his giggle, and the sheepish look on his face as Marie walked into the house to hear the whirrrrr, struggle, whirrr, and then wisps of smoke coming out of her prized machine. Needless to say, this was just one of many kitchen experiments that didn’t go quite as planned.

Butch’s recipe for Grasshoppers consisted of 1 part Creme de Menthe, 1 part White Creme de Cacao and 1 part vanilla ice cream. Whip in a blender till smooth.

Angel Food Cake is for Birthdays

This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 1 Jun 2012.

Yesterday, May 31st, was Dennis’ birthday, he would have been 62 years old this year. It was also his nephew Mike’s birthday. Happy Birthday!

Birthdays in Marie’s kitchen meant Angel Food Cake, and it had to have confetti in the mix. A plain angel food was not a birthday cake, although plain angel food was perfect for summer strawberries that had been sugared, mashed, and left to sit while dinner was eaten. Years after box angel food cakes became available, Marie never tired of the novelty and ease of an angel food box cake. She had a vivid memory of mixing these cakes by hand, standing at the counter and whisking, whisking, whisking the egg whites till they were stiff.

Marie, who was given the nickname of “Wee” by her father because she was so small, learned to cook at a very early age. She was always needed to help her mother prepare the meals for the thrashers and other hired hands on the farm, but when she was a small child, her mother was often ill. Because of this, Marie would be responsible for preparing the full meal on her own. When she shared stories with me from this time, I could just imagine this small girl standing on the step stool wrapped in a big apron, mixing, cooking, baking, and making angel food cakes by hand.

Growing up on the farm, they did not have indoor plumbing nor electricity until Marie was well into adulthood, so there were many years where the only way to make this favorite cake was made by hand, and then baked in an oven heated by wood. What always struck me was that she did not talk about the novelty of using an electric mixer, or for that matter an electric oven! But it was the ease of opening a box, adding water, mix, and voila! Angel food cake.

A recipe from the 1944 edition of The Settlement Cookbook, page 437.

ANGEL FOOD CAKE ~ No. 1

  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites, 12 or 13
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, measured lightly
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons flavoring
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

Beat egg whites with a wire whip. Add cream of tartar and salt when eggs are frothy. Continue beating until a point of the egg whites will stand upright. Gradually beat in one cup of the sugar, which has been sifted twice. Fold in the flavoring. Sift flour once before measuring. Fold in flour gradually, which has been sifted 3 times with remaining 3/4 cup of sugar. Pour into dry, ungreased 10-inch tube pan and bake 65 minutes in a moderate oven, 325 degrees F. Invert pan until cake is entirely cold.

Strong Like Bull

Archived posts from “The Aroma of Bread,” first published 12 Oct 2013, with comments from 12 Oct 2020.

It is so hard to believe that it has been seven years since the summer that we spent cleaning out Butch and Marie’s house and preparing it for sale. So much has happened since that time.

Here is the post from 2013:

A couple of weeks ago we were at the house to continue the cleaning. On the agenda for this particular day was to clean out the eaves, which were full of leaves and debris.

 Standing on the ladder doing a task that he had done many many times over the years, Gary got to thinking and remembering. Remembering the time that he was up on the roof painting the trim on this very window. Having finished painting, he needed to clip the aluminum storm back onto the house. Finding he needed some help holding the window in place – or the ability to grow extra arms, he asked Marie to lend him a hand. Up for the challenge, she climbed into the tub, and at 5’2″ (on a good day), she fearlessly took hold of her side of the window. As Gary worked to get it clipped, and Marie worked to hold it steady, she said for the first time what would become a favorite family phrase: “Strong like bull!” And that was almost the end of the window as both she and Gary got the giggles as they looked at each other through the opening.

Cleaning out the gutters that nice fall day, Gary paused to remember a moment of shared laughter with his mother.