Holiday traditions always include great food. Here are some of our family recipes. Your special meals will be remembered by your children and grandchildren. Remember to ask your parents and grandparents for their special recipes. As you publish your family delicacies try some of the recipes of other members. You may find a whole new tradition. Enjoy!!
It’s 2000 and the extended Thiessens Family is planning a reunion! This was the first time that both sets of children and their descendants of Hermannus (Herman) Thiessens were invited to get together for a reunion. My sister, Janice Adams Coover was given the task of collecting and compiling the “Thiessens Family Reunion Cookbook which was distributed on August 4-5, 2000 at Cherry Hills Campground near Layton, Utah.
I had the distinction of submitting the first recipe to the Thiessens Family Website, but my mother’s sister Hilda Thiessens Edney submitted over 137 recipes! All who made the recipe book a reality were given special recognition, but the bottom line was obvious. We all love to eat!
Hermannus Thiessens had a total of twelve children from two marriages, six from each. From the first marriage three children survived to adulthood and had families. His first wife was the aunt of his second wife and six more children were born to this second marriage, five who survived to adulthood.
The youngest daughter of the youngest son of the first marriage is Mary Leal. This cousin shared kitchen thoughts from those little hand painted signs hung in so many kitchens. Here are just four of them:
· Countless numbers of people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to lead normal lives.
· No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes
· The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house when I bought it.
· There are only three kinds of food – Frozen, Canned and Take-Out!
My siblings and I grew up on the best home-made bread in the world! My mother, Ruth L. Thiessens Adams (later Meacham) used to make fourteen loaves of bread every week for our family, and she kneaded it all by hand! But rather than share her recipe at this time, I chose to give a simpler breakfast treat as one of her recipes:
Cream together: 1 c. shortening or margarine, 2 cups sugar and 1 tsp. salt.
Add:4 eggs (one at a time), 5 cups flour, 3 cups all bran cereal, and 2 cups 40% Brann flakes or Raison Bran.
Add: 1 quart buttermilk, and 5 tsp soda.
Stir well. Covdr and refrigerate. Batter will keep well in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. When used place batter in muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Yield: 48 muffins.
Variations:Add nuts, raisins, or chopped dates to batter
On holidays or special occasions, my mother would make a salad that our family has come to know as Mom’s Holiday Salad. When we were growing up, mom would often make this for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was one of my sister’s (Gloria Adams Schneider) contributions. Gloria says: “I can’t help but think of the good memories every time I make it, which is usually during the holidays.”
MOM’S HOLIDAY SALAD
1 pint whipping cream, 2 #2 ½ cans pineapple chunks, well drained, 1 pint sour cream, 1 lb large marshmallows, Shredded coconut, chopped pecans, quartered maraschino cherries.
Cut marshmallows into quarters (scissors make this an easy task) and set aside. Whip the whipping cream, then add the sour cream and whip enough to blend well. Fold in marshmallows and well drained pineapple. Top with coconut, chopped pecans, and quartered maraschino cherries. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least overnight before serving. Makes a nice big bowl.
A quick and easy main dish was shared by my sister’s (Janice Adams Coover) daughter, Cheri Coover Sharp. I find in quite interesting to see how the different generations’ recipes reflect the pace of their time.
TATER TOT CASSEROLE
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained (a small onion may be chopped and sautéed with meat), 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 small package frozen corn, cheddar cheese-grated, 1 can of cream of celery soup (optional), 1 pkg Tater tots.
After browning meat, drain and mix with core and canned soup(s). Put in large casserole dish or 8 x 13 pan. Sprinkle grated cheese over mixture. Top with tater tots. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Growing up, for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, my mother always included candied sweet potatoes as a side dish to our meal. The reunion cookbook also included a tasty recipe for what our family came to know as a delicacy! My mother’s older sister (Hilda Thiessens Edney) contributed the following:
CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
4-6 medium potatoes, 4 Tbsp. brown sugar, 4 Tbsp. margarine, ½ cup dark corn syrup, 1/3 cup orange juice, marshmallows.
Wash potatoes. Boil until tender. Combine syrup, sugar, orange juice and margarine in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Put them in the syrup mixture, Let syrup come to a good boil over them. [Turn candied potatoes into an oven baking pan.] Place marshmallows over potatoes. Put them in oven to brown as desired.
Whenever one of our neighbors or church ward members died, one of the regular standby recipes that were handed out to members of the Relief Society in our denomination. These good women would then prepare large batches of “Funeral Potatoes” as a main course to serve the family (and friends) of the deceased after the funeral services and cortege to the cemetery. These services were very much a celebration of the life of the deceased. These meals were always more like a family reunion than anything else. This is a recipe that my mother, Ruth Thiessens Adams Meacham shared:
8 large potatoes (Boil Don’t overcook – peel – shredded), 1 cup of finely diced onions or scallions or use onion salt (to taste). Microwave onions in one square of butter until they are transparent.
Mix in a large bowl: 2 cups sour cream, 1 can cream of chicken soup, ½ cup half-n-half onion & butter mixture, 1tsp pepper, 2 tsp. salt (to taste), 2 cups grated cheese.
Mix with potatoes until everything is coated, then put in a greased 9 x 13” pan. Top with buttered bread crumbs or buttered crushed cornflakes, or more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes.
Of course, dessert was always a hit at our special meals. I am including recipes from three different generations that are among many that various family members have enjoyed. My maternal grandmother, Henrietta Folkers Thiessens passed her recipe to her daughter (my mother), Ruth Meacham, who in turn passed in on to my sister, Janice Adams Coover for Henrietta’s Sugar Cookies. My cousin, Arlene Thiessens Terry (daughter of grandpa Hermannus Thiessens’ youngest son—Herman, by his first marriage) of Ely, Nevada shared her Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookes. And my daughter, Chantel Adams Rhodes, shared my favorite Lemon Meringue Pie that has become a family tradition for Father’s Day and Birthday!
If you are like me, since Life is short, enjoy dessert first!!
HENRIETTA’S SUGAR COOKIES
7 CUPS SIFTED Flour, 1 pound lard or shortening (2 cups), 1 Teaspoon Salt (optional), 1 cup Milk, 5 Teaspoons Baking Powder, 4 Eggs-Beaten, 2 Cups Sugar.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut lard into flour as you would for pastry, until well blended. Stir in sugar. Add eggs and milk and mix thoroughly (if dough is too dry to roll out, add a little more milk). Roll dough on lightly floured board to ¼ - 1/2 “ thickness. Cut into rounds or shapes. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until done.
CHEWY CHOCOLATE-CHIP COOKIES
1 Cup butter or margarine, ¼ Cup sugar, 2 eggs, ½ tsp salt, 4 cups chocolate chips (2 bags-12 oz each.), ¾ Cup packed brown sugar, 1 Pkg. (3.4 oz) Instant vanilla or chocolate pudding mix, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 Cup finely chopped nuts.
Cream butter, sugars and pudding mix. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda, and gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
FATHER’S DAY LEMON MERINGUE PIE
FILLING:1 ½ c. sugar, dash salt, ½ tsp. grated lemon peel, 1 (9 in.) baked pie shell, 3 Tbsp. corn starch, 1 ½ c. hot water, 2 Tbsp. Margarine, 2 Tbsp Flour, 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten, ½ c. lemon juice
MERINGUE: 3 egg whites, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 6 Tbsp. sugar
In a saucepan, mix 1 ½ c. sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually blend in water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Brink egg yolks up to temperature then stir into saucepan. Bring to boil on high, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add margarine and lemon peel. Gradually stir in 1/3 c. lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap; cook 10 minutes. Pour filling into cooled pastry shell and cool to room temperature.
Beat egg white with 1 tsp lemon juice until foamy. Gradually add 6 Tbsp. sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and medium peaks form. Spread meringue over filling, sealing to edges of pastry. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until meringue is golden. Cool before serving.
As a parting shot – SOME HINTS FOR THE KITCHEN:
· A leaf of lettuce dropped into the pot absorbs the grease from the top of the soup. Remove the lettuce and throw it away as soon as it has served its purpose.
· Use the type can opener that leaves a smooth edge and remove both ends from a flat can (the size tuna is usually packed in) and you have a perfect mold for poaching eggs.
· Try using a thread instead of a knife when a cake is to be cut while it is hot.
· A clean clothespin provides a cool handle to steady the cake pan when removing a hot cake.
· When you buy cellophane-wrapped cupcakes and notice that the cellophane is somewhat stuck to the frosting, hold the package under the cold water tap for a moment before you unwrap it. The cellophane will then come off clean.
Thank you for sharing the treasured family recipes. You sent them at the perfect time too. I can practically taste that awesome lemon pie!
Golden, Can you please explain a few of your recipes for this confused Australian?
1) Is Mum's Salad recipe served as a sweet or a savoury dish? It sounds like a dessert to me.
2) In the Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe, you just say 4-6 potatoes. Are these orange coloured sweet potatoes or regular Idaho type potatoes? Would you need to add all of the sugar, corn syrup and marshmallos to sweet potatoes, as they are already pretty sweet on their own?
3) In Henrietta's biscuits, do you really mean LARD (as in white greasy pig fat?) or butter as the shortning? I can't imagine adding pig fat to anything, let alone to biscuits! We only use butter in Australia!
Annie, Here are the answers to your questions.
(1) Mom's Salad is a VERY rich, sweet salad. For our families who LOVE sweets, this large salad lasts quite a while. We don't take a large portion!
2) The potatoes are the orange colored sweet potatoes (or yams). Once again, this is a SWEET (high calorie) side dish and a small portion is probably more what you are used to in Australia!
3) Henrietta sugar cookies originally used LARD (Pig Fat), but shortening (like the brand Crisco) which is a vegetable fat much like margarine, often substituted for butter in most recipes. Lard gives cookies and pie crusts more of a 'flaky' texture than does shortening.
Golden, These are incredible. You and Annie really take it seriously. I never heard of "funeral Cookies". I would think they would be any kind that is brought to a funeral but now I know they are a certain kind of cookie with its own recipe. Interesting.Pretty cool!
I guess that there may be something lost in the confusion of so many neat recipes, since "Funeral Cookies" seemed to get mixed with "Funeral Potatoes". It's really a great tasting recipe for a good potato casserole. I suppose if it were left to me and I forgot to time the potatoes, they would be more like "crispy critter cookies.
Thank you, Golden, for explaining your recipes to me. Australians have a more 'savoury' palate, generally speaking than Americans. We don't have Crisco here at all and we use mainly butter for pasty, cakes and biscuits (cookies, as you'd call them)although some people use unsaturated margarine. We do have both the orange and the white fleshed sweet potatoes and I usually just tuck them in around a roast dinner with the other vegetables. I appreciate you taking the time to explain. Vive la difference!
Firstly, thank you for sharing all these, which sound delicious. Secondly, I nearly choked laughing - I had a great-aunt (Hazel) who lived in Florida. Every time we visited, she would make this salad that was so sweet I could hardly choke it down, but it was obviously her favorite, and she was proud of producing such a fine dish for her company table. Although hers was fixed in small aluminum molds and served individually on salad plates, it HAD to be the exact same recipe as your Mom's Holiday Salad. Don't be offended with me, please...but I just had to laugh! I think this recipe is probably delicious when thought of as dessert, but somehow as a kid it was soooooo sweet it just gave me fits and I remember struggling to eat it all so as not to offend the hostess. That made me chuckle. Thanks.