Category: The Aroma of Bread

The Love of the Irish

This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and it was first published 22 Mar 2015.

Assorted Shamrocks. Old and New

Marie Campbell Fassbender loved her Irish  heritage. She was proud to be Irish, and she loved St. Patrick’s day. 

As the day would near, she would gather a collection of shamrock pins, and she would keep them handy. If you dared attempt to leave the house, or to walk into the house without wearing green, she would hand you a pin, and expect you to wear it. 

It would have been so much fun to sit down with a big map of Ireland, and map out the counties where her immigrant ancestors came from. I think she would have been surprised at the number!

County Cork, County Donegal, County Down, County Louth, County Monaghan, and County Tyron

I was searching for an apple recipe the day that I happened upon a page in the “Tried and True Recipes. Compiled by the Homemakers Organization of Calumet County, Wisconsin,” dated 1974. The page did not have a marker, but did contain a recipe that we have been looking for: Grasshopper Torte. This was a staple on the holiday table. A palette cleanser before or after your piece of pumpkin pie. And there was definitely room for a piece when it was time for sandwiches.

Looking over this recipe filled with Marie’s notes, the one thing I notice is that she did not make a notation that she always made this torte on a graham cracker crust. Maybe it went without saying, as chocolate wafers were not readily available to her in 1974. But her directions for smooth marshmallow are clear and direct. Is this “THE” Grasshopper Torte recipe? I am not sure, but it is definitely one that she had made more than once. 

This is one version of the torte, and she (used this for larger torte).

St. Mary’s Hilbert Cookbook, 1970s, p. 105

The Hen Parties

An archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” first published 3 Mar 2013.

Not every post will be a stellar post, but every post will be tied to a memory. I don’t have any idea what we were talking about, but all of a sudden the memory of what I will call the “Hen Parties” popped into my mind. 

The fourth Tuesday of every January was the night for the White Clover Dairy  Shareholder meeting. In the early 80s following the buy-back of WCD from the Nestle Company, the meetings were held in the school basement with snacks and of course a few beers following the meeting. By 1985 the meeting was moved to the small dining room of Van Abels. As the company continued to prosper, dinner was being added to the meeting agenda, and the wives were invited to join the men for dinner.

Christmas 1984

So the question became, what to do with the women while the men were meeting, as they would have ridden out to Hollandtown with their husbands. So in the solid tradition of Fassbender hospitality, Marie invited the wives to join her in her home for cocktails, snacks and conversation.

When I joined the party in 1988, the tradition, and the party, was in full swing. I had worked till 5:00 p.m. and then had the 20 minute drive to Hollandtown, so I was a bit late. I still remember walking into the living room as all eyes turned to me, and I  looked at them. They were already settled with their drinks. Plates of cheese and sausage, nuts, and assorted other snack items filled the tables. Every last one of them dressed in heels and hose – including me. That is how we dressed in those days. Drinks and conversation flowed until the appointed time when we all got into our cars and drove over to Van Abels to join the men for dinner. 

Thankfully this tradition only lasted a few more years, and sometime in the early 90s we were invited to join the men at Van Abels for the Shareholder meeting. It was also a relief for Marie. While she loved to host people in her home, she did not especially enjoy these evenings. 

There are very few pictures that fully show the living room as it was in those days. These images hopefully will spark memories of this room, and all of the times gathered for plates of cheese and sausage, beverages and time spent as a family.SaveSaveSaveSave

St. Mary’s Hilbert Cookbook, 1970s, p. 36 (very good)


Exceptional Talent. Come More Regular

Archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” first published 13 January 2016.

In 1938, when Marie was 16 years old, she and her  brother, Arthur, would head to Chilton on Saturday, for a 2:00 p.m. music lesson. Marie, piano, and Arthur the violin. While cleaning out her attic in 2013, I discovered her piano report card tucked into a music book. It made me smile.

Stated on the “Student Account and Lesson Record” side of the card, her lessons that year cost forty cents a lesson, and her Book 5 lesson book was sixty cents. Well, to say “that year” is a bit of a stretch. Her report card states that she attended nine lessons between January 7th and April 15th.

The best part of the report card is the reverse side, the “Student Record Card.” From this side we learn that she was interested in playing Popular or Classical music, not Hill Billy or Church. Her ultimate ambition for taking piano: Entertainment. Her report card was mostly “A” for accuracy, concentration, aptitude, memorizing, analyzing, and general playing ability. She received a “B” for her rhythm, and a “C” for phrasing. The definition of phrasing is: “Does the music make sense–is it pleasing?” Hmmm. I would love to know what that means.

My favorite part of the card is her teacher’s remarks: “Exceptional talent. Keep on doing the best. Come more regular.” 

Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in a saucepan on low. Stir in brown sugar, and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk, cook until boils. Cool until lukewarm.

When lukewarm, add mixture to a small bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed, add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until blended, then increase the speed of the mixer to high, and and mix until a spreading consistency.





Out With the Old, In With the New

Archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” first published 13 February 2016.

1942 – Outside the Fassbender home in Hollandtown

Marie met Butch when she was just 19 years of age, and as her brother states, she was in her “hyper faze.”

My in-laws met in June 1941 at the wedding of Butch’s brother, Hubert (Cub), to Dolores Wenzel. It was a small ceremony, taking place in the pastor’s chambers. Butch was standing up for Cub, and as a long time friend of Dolores, Marie had been asked to stand up as Dolore’s witness. The two girls had become friends when Dolore’s father worked as a hired hand on the Campbell farm, and the Wenzel family lived in a small house located on an edge of the Campbell farm. Marie agreed to be Dolore’s attendant, never imagining that her life was about to change.

Following the marriage of Cub and Dolores, the two couples remained friends. When Butch and Marie married in 1946, Dolores attended Marie as a bridesmaid, and Cub was a groomsman. It was into their home in Dundas, that the newly wed Butch and Marie moved, while their own home was being constructed in Hollandtown.

But about Butch and Marie. Shortly after they met, they started dating, and Marie loved to tell this story about herself from that period in time. Although she had met and was dating Butch, she was keeping her options open, and continued dating other men, specifically a man named Bill. On one particular day, she was visiting with Bill in the living room at the farm. They were having a great time, and Marie lost trackof the time, almost forgetting that Butch would soon be arriving to pick her up for an evening out. That is until she heard his car pull into the yard. As he headed to the front door, Marie began rushing Bill out the side door – or vice versa, I never thought to ask. Her father, Walter, met Butch at the door, stalled him a bit so that Bill was out of the house, and Marie could catch her breath, then let him in.

Couple unidentified, but a great shot from the drive of the farm, and both the front and side porch. Notice how close the porches are to each other.

The next day, Walter sat Marie down and said that enough was enough, she had to make a choice, as he was not going to go through all that drama again. She made her choice, and for the next five years she and Butch dated, getting married at St. Mary’s in Hilbert on May 7, 1946. They would have celebrated 70 years of marriage this year!

Marie’s Chicken Dumpling Soup

from Wende

Chicken Broth

  • 1 cup up fryer chicken
  • Celery, cut into chunks for broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Carrots
  • Celery for soup
  • Noodles, cooked

Put chicken in a pot with just enough water to cover it. add the celery and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove chicken from broth and cool. When cool, bone the chicken, and skim the fat off of the broth. Season the broth with salt and pepper, or Nature’s Seasons. Add carrots and celery to the broth, cook for five minutes, keeping the broth at a low boil.


  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients. Using a spoon, drop by small spoon full the dumplings into the low boiling broth. Cover the pot, cook the dumplings for 15 minutes ( do not take the cover off the pot).

After the dumplings have cooked, add the chicken and cooked noodles to the pot. Cook for 5 more minutes before serving.





The Smell of Baked Goods

Today as we mark the sixth anniversary of the day after her passing, this post came to mind. So I will start here. 

This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” it was first published Saturday, 16 Jun 2012.

Time is moving so quickly. Here it is another Saturday, another weekend. A moment when life can slow  down a bit, and we can think about a leisurely breakfast as opposed to a quick bowl of cereal as everyone runs out the door. Or maybe a special dessert to serve at dinner.  

It has been almost a month since our family gathered to honor Marie with an “Irish Wake,” and it was five months yesterday since her passing. Time passing.

Marie was known for her baked goods. I mean, she was KNOWN for her baked goods. People looked for her donations at church functions and funeral lunches. A testament to this is a photo we found. It was taken by the Van Abels in March 1977 when Helen Baumann died. Baked goods, so prized that they found time to take a photo of them. 

My strongest memory of her baked goods occurred the day after she passed away. Gary was already down in the kitchen making coffee when I headed down the stairs. I was almost to the landing when the most amazing aroma came wafting out of the kitchen – sweet rolls! As I hit the landing and turned to go down into the kitchen I said to Gary, “I smell baked goods!” Gary looked at me in amazement and said, “You smell it too!!?” We took that as a sign that Marie was home, and as we later joked with cousins, baking for her first Newcomers Meeting.

What is your favorite memory of the wonderful baked goods that came out of her kitchen? We would love for you to share your story.

Kathy Keene, WHBY’s Good Neighbor – April 4, 1988
“made for Rolf Funeral” ~ “very good”
Marie’s interpretation of doubling this recipe






Family Reunion 1996

Twenty years ago we were in the final countdown to the 1996 Fassbender Family Reunion.

My husband and I planned and held a family reunion back in the early days of home computers, before home internet was common, and “You’ve Got Mail” was the welcome message. Using Creative Writer, a program our children used, and whatever word processing program we were using at the time, I started creating reunion documents.

The date has been set

Never having planned a party of this magnitude, and having no idea how large the task was that we were taking on, Gary and I jumped enthusiastically into planning. The reunion was to celebrate the children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, etc., of Henry and Ida Fassbender.  51 letters were sent out to the families descending from this couple and their eight children: Harold (Fat) b. 1907, Laurine (Ena) b. 1909, Norbert (Red) b. 1911, Bernard (Butch) b. 1912, Mildred (Hunce) b. 1914, Hubert (Cub) b. 1917, Ann (Hank) b. 1921, and Rosemary (Rosie/Foos) b. 1926. 21 responses were returned, and with that, the date was set: July 20, 1996. With the date selected I got busy creating a cute “reunion t-shirt” note using a Creative Writer template, and developing a survey to be included in the mailing. What was asked in the survey? I sadly do not have a copy. But my mother-in-law thankfully saved the t-shirt page.

Schedule of events

With the date set, we reserved the Hollandtown Community Park and pavilion, a photographer was asked to take group pictures, we finalized the activities for the kids, the tour of White Clover Dairy, the place to share photos and memories of past reunions, and the dinner which was catered from Van Abels. Chicken, ham, German potato salad and rolls. The family was then broken up into two categories, one group was to bring dessert, the other a snack/munchie of their choice. As the surveys and reservations came in, I diligently worked on compiling the information that I received, into  a family directory, preparing to have a copy available for every attendee. Looking back, I am amazed that my curiosity about family, and desire for a sense of order were apparent even then. I color coded the name tags by family, seven different colors adorned the tags, and helped cousins who in some cases had not seen each other in years, quickly identify, and recognize old friends.

As the event drew closer, Butch and Marie, Cub and Dolores, Hank (Ann), and Hunce, the four remaining siblings, and Stella, the widow of Red, began to make their plans. Cub and Hank were coming from out of town, and would stay for the weekend; making it a true reunion, and allowing lots of time for chats and memories. And a bit of cheese and crackers with their evening beer. 

Family Directory

We planned the best we could, but sometimes the “best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” On July 5th  Butch not feeling well, went into the hospital, and it was discovered he needed surgery. The surgery was successful, but his tolerance for the morphine they gave him for pain was not. He ended up falling out of bed and breaking his arm. This set his homecoming back a few days. His younger sister, Hank, who had been battling cancer for many years, still was planning on driving up for the reunion. Sadly, she passed away, Saturday, July 13th. Her funeral was held July 16. 

The date was set, the planning complete, and these events rocked our world a bit, but we moved forward towards reunion day. 

Kids activities

The day was a perfect July day. While we only had 21 people respond with an opinion as to the choice of a date, we had almost a 100% RSVP a response of “yes, we are coming!” The day went off without a hitch, and Butch, just home from the hospital, was able to attend for a short period of time. A good time was had by all. For that I am thankful, because I am not sure I would do it again. But I do have to say, looking at the materials that were saved, we did an amazing job. 20 years later, we surprise ourselves. 

A tired family