As a child, I gave no thought to where I came from, who my ancestors were, or why I do the things I do. Later in life, I began asking questions. Sometimes I was not prepared for the answers. There are things in life we cannot change.
Looking back, I see now how I might have exasperated my dad or broke my mother's heart while exercising my right to explore and grow into adult life.
When the novel comes out, be prepared. I say that jokingly ... well, sort of.
On the lighter side, when I need reminders of why I am the way I am I visit with my cousins. Holy cow. The way we speak about things and mannerisms and political views and food and such are very similar. It could be we are pretty much cut from the same four bolts of fabric, and I do not joke when I say that.
Today's memory was triggered by a memory of my cousin's daughter's wedding. We made 100 or maybe 200 kuchen together. As you know to try to live up to all those pre-conceived notions of how good kuchen tastes. Well, that's a lot of pressure.
The moment that sticks out in my mind, however, was the cream for the pudding. Emptying the carton into the measuring cup, my cousin said, "Now pour the milk into the cream carton. Then pour it in the pot, so we don't waste any cream."
We are a frugal people.
Every time I make a batch of kuchen pudding, I will think of Marion. And every time I wonder about why I do the things I do I think of all the cousins around my age. Some days I wish I could go back into time as a spectator and watch us interact as an enormous family, especially at holidays.
I'm baking today and remembering and putting all that love into the oven.
PS: I rinsed out the cream container with the milk. Thoroughly...
Main Street Eats episode on carrots.
When one brags about the size of garden vegetables grown in your own garden, there has to be a point of reference as to the actual size of the vegetable. One day while posting carrot photos, someone asked me to show how big those carrots really are. So, here we are, my spouse and I, showing off our carrot harvest using a butcher knife as reference.
Carrots are such a joy. They usually store in the root cellar so we can enjoy carrots at our Easter meal in the spring. You can make carrot cake, carrot soup and more. So download the Main Street Eats with Root Seller Sue podcast on carrots HERE .
Learn how simple it is to make a soup from your squash and carrots in upcoming segments.
If you are experiencing an over-abundance of apples this fall there are many recipes for canning, freezing and eating that harvest. The simplest and most well-received cake I have ever made has got to be German Apple Cake.
No, I don't know why it is called German Apple Cake, except that it resembles a German Apple Pancake with cream cheese frosting.
Maybe it's the frosting that does it but you have to try it. It mixes in a single bowl, bakes in an hour and wow, it's fantastic.
Try it, and let me know what you think.
CLICK HERE FOR MAIN STREET and the Root Sellers on Wishek's Sauerkraut Day coming up next Wednesday, Oct. 10.
It's like going home. A visit to the cemetery is a family history lesson and standing in line while waiting for lunch gives one an opportunity to catch up to relatives.
A bittersweet day of remembering my roots.
Last Friday was a red-letter day for mail at my house. I received not only one, but two handwritten notes, in the mail last Friday. A red-letter day. NO other mail, just real letters. There is so much to miss about real letters.
Of course, one was a thank-you note from my niece, but it was personal, the other was about the book, "Women Behind the Plow."
It was from Clayton Schaeffer, a pastor from Buchanan, who saw a Gottlieb Kaseman's obituary in the Jamestown Sun. He connected a few dots and found my address and wrote a lovely two-page letter about how he read the book and recalled the family from Wishek back in the day.
Weirdly enough, someone contacted me recently through Facebook about that book. It was shortly before my Uncle Howard died. This message said this woman, Lisa, was at a birthday party and one of her sisters, Kim, saw her maiden name on someone’s phone… (I hope I got that part of the story correct.)
So they asked, “Why is my name on your phone?" The person said, “It’s not your name, that’s my sister-in-law from Jamestown.”
“Well, that’s my maiden name, also” she said.
Then, the connections began.
It seems that the person contacted me on Facebook because we were both Kasemans. Her sister works with my brother Curt’s wife, Kim’s, brother’s wife. Follow that one home. The person who contacted me was I believe Kim Kaseman's sister, Lisa (Kaseman) Klatt, who is one of four Kaseman girls born to Lenis Kaseman. Len just happens to be the son of Gottlieb Kaseman, the person that Clayton wrote to me about.
And, yes, Gottlieb was my Grandfather Edward’s brother. He frequently attended family dinners at the holidays at my Grandparents home in Wishek. As a young girl, I was fascinated and slightly afraid of this one-eared old man. Gray hair grew out of the hole in the side of his head. We never saw that side of his head in photos of Gottlieb because he always turned slightly away from the camera.
There were many rumors about how that happened, none the least that frightened my mother so much that we were warned continually to “stay away from the pig pen. Don’t climb on the fence, don’t fall in, stay away.”
I had the opportunity to talk to Len, who I would have never known if not for the message from Lisa about the fact we were both Kasemans who had a common connection with the Sturmas.
So I asked Len to clear up the story about my Great Uncle Gottlieb.
When Gottlieb was a young boy, he was either napping or just playing the yard when the pigs got out of the pen. They would have been Bernard Kaseman’s pigs, Gottleib's father, my grandfather’s father, and father of the Kaseman family near Wishek. As one passed by the young boy, it chomped off the ear. For the rest of his life he had to live with this disability. There were never any complaints or negative comments made… it was just a fact of life.
Some days my heart aches for those times. Hard times I suppose for those homesteading families, but think about what had to take place for the connection to be made between Lisa (Kaseman) Klatt and myself. A serious of fortunate events and a chance glance at a cell phone. Then with technology, Lisa found me; while with a handwritten vintage way of communication, Clayton found me. So two things. I had the chance to visit with one of my dad’s cousins at the funeral of my Uncle Howard and maybe I will get the opportunity to join Clayton in the German Advent service he conducts in Bismarck. Another fond memory that will soon be extinct in this world.
Don't let that bread go to waste. Once your sourdough is past its prime, you can still use it for tomato and bread salad... jump back to the video on the home page here.
And, don't forget, farmers markets are loaded with wonderful tomatoes in all varieties. See bread tips under the bread header... oh wait? Are you a Bread Head? I'll let you know what kind of bread I'm baking bad for Saturday, Sept. 15.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, I will be at the TSC Farm Supply Store north Bismarck location to celebrate their farmers market promo... come see me there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Here are links to the latest Main Street Eats with Root Seller Sue
Sauerkraut (should have some more for sale in two weeks)
Foraging fruits and wild stuff.
SALSA on Prairie Public Radio - click here.
Don't forget - new batch of salsa available at the market on Saturday, August 23 - 8 a.m. till sellout.
It's Salsa Season.... so here is a recipe for fresh salsa with all kinds of garden ingredients.
If you have an abundance of tomatoes, there's a recipe for canning the fruits of summer below that. And did I really say "Cannable?" Listen to the broadcast and then try your hand at salsa...
Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo) Recipe
Prep time: 6 minutes
Yield: Makes 3 to 4 cups of salsa
When using fresh chile peppers always taste first before adding! Some peppers are hotter than others and you really can't tell unless you taste them. Just take a very small taste. You'll be able to gauge the heat of the pepper and will be better able to judge how much you need.
2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb), stems removed
1/2 red onion
2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile (stems, ribs, seeds removed), less or more to taste
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of dried oregano (crumble in your fingers)
Salsa Recipes for Canning
6 cups peeled, cored, seeded and chopped ripe tomatoes
9 cups diced onions and/or peppers of any variety (See Notes below)
1 and ½ cups commercially bottled lemon or lime juice
3 teaspoons canning or pickling salt
Yield: About 6 pint jars
Salsa Recipe for Canning
20-22 pounds of tomatoes
3 cups onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely diced
1 cup assorted mild peppers, finely chopped
1 – 4 hot peppers, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon dried oregano leaf Buy oregano online.
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional, but recommended) Buy cumin online.
1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar
3 6-ounce cans tomato paste (optional, for thicker salsa)
I receive many requests for the recipes alluded to on the Prairie Public Radio spots from The Root Sellers farm...
So, I'm thinking now that harvest is coming to a close - well not for a couple of months, I will try and get the info for recipes posted here. If I forget, please email me through the contact page.
This week I had a request for a cookbook and some pickles. Here is my Grandmother's recipe in her own handwriting... and the Gutes Essen Cookbook is available at Amazon.
And here is my pickle recipe.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.