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German Food & Folkways: Heirloom Memories from Europe, South Russia, & the Great Plains Paperback – January 8, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Germans from Russian Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries ; (January 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891193163
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891193163
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,398,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Review by Ingeborg W. Smith, Western Springs, Illinois

I have a whole bookcase full of cookbooks, some of them in German, but no cookbook quite like this one. It is not just a compendium of recipes, but it is historical, emphasizing the food traditions of the Germans who were invited to Russia by Catherine the Great. Many of these people re-emigrated from Russia to the Great Plains of the New World but kept their old folkways.

Some people use cookbooks as bedtime reading and this one lends itself to this use, perhaps because it has fewer recipes than the standard book of this kind, and contains more background information. It is probably one of very few such volumes that contains a bibliography. There are also a glossary and a list of "Sources and Resources."

"German Food & Folkways" is the result of four years of research and data-gathering and one year of writing by Rose Marie H. Gueldner, an educator, historian, writer and businesswoman, and a descendant of Germans from Russia. It is not your standard cookbook, but a history of the Germans from Russia, where they came from, how they got to Russia, and how the German food traditions were changed by conditions in Russia, especially the climate and the short growing season, which produced an emphasis on root vegetables and cabbage.

We learn that Frederick II was instrumental in adding the potato to the German diet during the food shortages in the 1700's, that peanut butter was introduced as a health food at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, plus a host of other interesting facts.

As a descendant of both North and South Germans, I expected to find a few more familiar dishes.
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