Monday, August 22, 2011

How did I get here?? (Back to the beginning)

The year was 1957. I married this wonderful American man named Marcus. Marc was an officer and a pilot in the 37th Engineers corps stationed in Wolfgang by Hanau in Germany. I accidentally met Marc in the Officer Club doing inventory for my Father who, at the time, was the GM for the Club. I was 20 years old. That evening after I got home the Bartender called and said there were two Officers who wanted my phone number and if he could give it to them. I said no way. After that, every time I went on Post and saw Marc (at the time I did not know his name) he would wave and say hello.

Three weeks before Christmas 1956 the German Lions Club had set up sales tables in the Basketball Auditorium on Post and they needed a translator. My Father requested that I go and translate for the American soldiers, officers and enlisted men who were shopping for their families in the United States. Well, Marc asked for some help in choosing a pipe for his father, even though he spoke German quite well. I thought he was cute and had a great personality but still I was not interested.

A few weeks later, family friends invited me to dinner at the Officers Club. Our friend was trying to set me up with a date - let me call him Jon - but I said, “No. He is the kind of guy who flies from flower to flower and I have no interest in that.” Later that evening Marc walked in. Looking at him, I said to our friend, “If there is one guy I would go out with, it would be him.”

Two weeks later, our friend Mrs. Hansen had a dinner party in her home and had invited Marc. Later that evening, he requested to take me home. In front of Marc, Mrs. Hansen said to me, “Be sure he does not take advantage of you.”  Well he was so shy that I almost took advantage of him!

Marc asked me to dinner at the Officer Club in Frankfurt the next day. He was very attentive and European. (Yes there is a difference in the behavior of men.) One can say I fell in love with Marc during this evening. My Grandmother, who was visiting from East Germany, had waited up for me. I told her that I was going to marry Marcus for I knew that night he was the one.

My Father was not pleased. In Germany in those days, at least in my family, you had to introduce your date to your parents away from home, either in a Restaurant or CafĂ©.  I guess there is an exception to every rule. You guessed it: Marc showed up at our door in full uniform. I was stunned - especially since I had told him not to come to my home until it was acceptable. Needless to say, I did not ask him in. Instead, we stood in the foyer talking. He had come to ask me to go to the Globetrotters the following Friday.

Marc’s visit was during dinner and I stayed away from the table so long that my Father came to the door. You have to realize that my father was from the old school and very stern and proper. As my father stood there, I was dying a slow death and did not want to be embarrassed. For several minutes there was no conversation except for when Marc introduced himself as First Lieutenant Marcus Holland.

In the silence, my father kept looking at Marc and then at me before he said, “Why are you not asking this young man in?” I was stunned. My Father had never invited a date to our home unless he had met him first for coffee or dinner outside our home. Once everyone was seated and dinner proceeded with Marc at the table, he and my father   became fast buddies. To this day it amuses me when I think about it. The evening turned out to be fun. 

We had a whirlwind courtship and married a few months later. We married in a German Civil service and in the American Chapel in Wolfgang. Marc did not understand why I did not want to be married in a German Church. To this day, I really do not know why other than it just did not seem right. The Chapel was intimate.

(This was the very beginning of coming to America)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Arriving in New York 1959

Pregnant with Baby # 2 and Walter one year old, we arrived at LaGuardia Airport in the middle of a huge rainstorm, and so many people. I said to my husband Marcus “lets go back to Germany.”

New York was an experience I will never forget. Many years later I actually lived in New York City. Marc was from Iowa so of course we moved to Iowa where this venture of cooking started. In Newton, Red Oak and Ottumwa Iowa I started a Kaffee Klatsch once
every month or so. My female friends loved these Kaffee’s. They were afternoons where we relaxed and gossiped and just had fun, away from the children.

I am not fond of baking but I did, mostly German Torts and Coffee Cakes. Cooking was and still is my thing.

In Ottumwa I started a Gourmet Dinner Club made up of 4 couples, with an invitation extended to an additional couple at times. It was slightly competitive and I tell you everyone really put themselves out and we had some wonderful menus with great food and a great time together.

My Version of the Schwarzwelder Kirsch Torte
Biscuit Roll:   Preheat Oven to 350*

8 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup flour minus 2 tablespoons instead uses 2 tablespoons of cocoa.

Separate eggs; beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, add the flour and cocoa incorporate until mixed well.

In a separate bowl or electric mixer beat the egg whites until firm. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg whites and gently incorporate to keep the volume.

Butter a parchment/foil lined cookie sheet about 12 by 16 inches. Spread the cake mixture on the paper and make sure it is even all over.

Bake about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven it will shrink slightly as it cools. Take a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with sugar; roll the cake up in the towel, cool.


1 to 1 ½ cups heavy cream with ¼ cup of sugar, whipped firm
1 cup black cherries, drained and pitted
1 to 2 tablespoons cherry brandy (optional)
Dark semisweet chocolate bar for shaving
Unroll the cake from the towel; spread the cherry brandy evenly over the cake, add a thin layer of the whipped cream, add the cherries roll the cake up and top with the rest of the whipped cream. With a potato peeler shave the chocolate all over the cake.

 Slice and serve, make 8 to 10 servings

Note: You can substitute cool whip for the whipping cream

Have fun with this it is a great dessert for birthdays, holidays and whatever.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adventure Begins

Cooking Became an Adventure:

When I married my husband Marc in 1957 and ventured to America in 1959, I didn't realize that the kitchen was going to be the focal point of an adventure with cooking for years to come. It didn't take long for Marc to become the "Gourmet"-- trust me; there is no critic worse then a reformed eater. As we added 7 children to our life, cooking really became a challenge.

We entertained frequently in our home and our guests would inevitably want one recipe or another, advice on table setting and help in recreating what they had eaten in our home. This became part of my daily life. Family and friends kept telling me to move myself into the professional culinary arena. I did just that when I opened a home cooking school in Branford, Connecticut. From there, things snowballed.

Even though I did grow up in the Hospitality Industry, juggling the time between running the cooking school and cooking for my family required a few short cuts. Time was tight. I needed to create and recreate healthful meals which took less time to prepare, that could be left to cook on their own and still looked and tasted wonderful. Out of this I became the "Soup and Meal-in-a-Pot" queen in Connecticut in 1975. More than once did I receive a standing ovation for one of my meal-in-a-pot parties. A greatly favored dish was and is my lamb-pot.