Homepage | David K Petersen

Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



david k petersen

Cooking up some history Sometimes when I'm asked, "what do you collect?" I have to ponder it for a second because sometimes it seems like the question should be "what don't you collect?" One of the items in the Petersen cupboard that does get a workout on occasion is a stack of Church, club and school cookbooks. These are the ones that have everyone's favorite recipes that were shuffled together for countless fundraisers over the years. One of the older ones has some great advertising for stores long since gone such as Lunde and Sheldon, remember the store for Dad and Lad? Speaking of, does anyone remember or have photos of the interior of the store with the old ship models up on the shelf? Other advertising includes Dutch Krause Tire and Repair, Sellner's Market, Langeson's Bakery, and Brandt groceries, and you might have thought that these only had recipes. Some of them abound with history, and often photographs. The cookbook issued by the United Methodist Church in 1995 was the Centennial Edition for the building of the main section of the present church. It contains a history of the church from it's humble beginnings meeting on the second floor of the warehouse on South William Street to the move to it's present location in 1871 on the corner of Loomis and Harrison Street. How we cook Scandinavian, Recipes and Memories published in 1993 by the West Shore Scandinavian Society and very eloquently combines recipes and family memories of the contributors throughout the book. Dorothy Heslipen writes, " My father worked in the lumber camps and he wanted to be a real American and wanted us to learn English. She [mother] had a lot of work after they were married. She milked their two cows; they grazed right out in front on West Loomis Street." Anna Superczynski wrote " Grandma made Norwegian Pancakes often and I remember the contests when my cousins came over as to who could eat the most. I think Henry won with 32." Norwegian Pancakes: 2 eggs well beaten add 1/2 cup sugar pinch of salt, 1 and 1/2 cups sweet milk, 1 and 1/4 cups flour Mix well, batter should be thin. Use a hot frying pan and a pitcher to pour the batter in a tilted pan and cover bottom of 10-inch pan. When pancake begins to look dry, turn. Try them with butter and sugar rolled into tubes. St. Stanislaus put out a couple of different Polish recipe cookbooks. Food is such an important part of our ethnic heritage regardless of your family background. Family traditions, customs, history, and memories swirl around the tastes and smells of those certain special foods. Whether it is GOLBAKI [cabbage rolls] Lutefish, BAKLAVA, HEAD CHEESE, or whatever your favorites are they hold a special place in most of our memories, and the smell or taste can take us right back to the moment. Traditions can be funny things though and often start by accident. There was a quip in a magazine some year's back that went something like this. While the Great Grand daughter was cutting the Christmas ham in half she asked her mother "Why" did you always cut the ham in two before you cooked it? I don't know she said lets ask my mother, the girls grandmother also didn't know, just that it had always been done that way. The 3 women then gathered around the 90 year old matriarch of the family to ask the question. Why? She then said, "It wouldn't fit in the pan!" The Oceana Center cookbook contains the history of the Grange as well as some historical photographs. The St Joseph Catholic Church in Weare also placed a great assortment of historical photographs from the Church's history through out it's cook book that also contains some old time recipes such as Higdom [green tomato relish] mincemeat cookies, and potato candy. Like many we have our favorite holiday recipes and also some that have been handed down. Even in these days of fast paced lifestyles and fast food there is a place for those favorite foods and treats and I think it's one that holds a more important place in family tradition and our children's memories then we may readily consider. These are traditions that are easily lost and with that in mind we are consolidating our recipes into a family cookbook so that our children don't have to wish they had grandma's secret coleslaw recipe, and Mom's best baked beans.

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