Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Food that Schmecks!

 Hurry Up Cake from Food That Really Schmecks
This time of year I start to leaf through my old cookbooks and recipes boxes looking for just the right hearty recipes to fill hungry men.  I'm feeding hungry men in every season, but it seems when fall rolls around, it's time for a different kind of food.  It's time for comfort food.  There's a favorite cooking blog that I can always count on for good, hearty, family-style foods.  If you've never been to  Mennonite Girls Can Cook, go now! It's packed with homestyle recipes that every family will gobble up. I haven't been to the blog in awhile and have  been really enjoying myself reading through the recipes.  This blog really schmecks!

Recently my son asked me, "Mom, do you know what the word schmecks means?"  I don't know where he came up with it, but he has been studying German for a couple years and so perhaps it came up amongst his reading.  Or maybe he has a new North Dakota friend on Facebook.  Anyway....

"Sure," I said.  "Schmecks is a German word that means tastes, tastes good or is flavorful."  

Have you ever heard of a Schmeckfest?  It's a food tasting festival.  You find them a lot in North Dakota and in German communities.  Regular homemakers gather together to show off their down-home cooking and the recipes passed on to them through the generations.  Usually the Schmeckfest is a fund raiser that gathers lots of people together who want an old-fashioned, hearty eating experience.  I have never attended a Schmeckfest, but I understand the cooking.  Being of German decent myself, I have a few recipes in my own repertoire that my Grandma Schumacher used to make.  The Mennonite Girls blog reminds me of a book that I have been meaning to purchase for many years called Food That Really Schmecks by Edna Staebler.    These are traditional, German-Mennonite recipes that are said to be tasty in every way. Has anybody ever use this cookbook or the sequel,  More Food That Really Schmecks?  I ordered More Food just tonight.

Here's a sample of a recipe from Food That Really Schmecks and it's a good one.  We sometimes call it Dump Cake because you dump the ingredients straight into the cake pan to mix it up.
Hurry Up Chocolate Cake (use a 9x9 cake pan)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 rounded tablespoons cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 cup lukewarm buttermilk
Sift all the dry ingredients into the pan and stir to blend. Bump pan on the counter to level off. Make 3 hollows in mixture with a spoon. Put vanilla in one hole, vinegar in second hole and melted butter/margarine in 3rd hole.
Pour buttermilk over top. Stir and blend until smooth with no flour showing.
Thump on counter and bake in 350F oven for 25- 30 minutes.

Cocoa Fudge Icing

1 cup sugar, brown or white
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar and cocoa. Stir in milk until smooth. Drop in butter and stir over moderate heat. Boil for 1 minute only.
Remove from heat and cool quickly (cold water in sink.) Stir in vanilla and beat until creamy and thick. It will stay soft - but firm, on cake. 

Maybe we ought to have our own virtual Schmeckfest online.  Think about what tasty recipes you might share.


  1. I am up early this morning so I thought that I would catch up on some blog reading.
    Love this post, especially because Edna lived so close by and her cookbooks are so popular here in this community (evidence being found at the library)
    Love her that word!
    Thanks for sharing another great post!

  2. Gosh, this made me laugh so hard. You have no idea. I live in Holdeman Mennonite land, yup, three congregations right here. Let's just say the class I went to school with-we were all churched. We had Roll Kuchen at birthday parties, everyone where's a dress, and the rest of us wear skirts, and my friends from a neighbouring town thought we just don't have TV because they don't bring TV to Linden. Low German talk in the household? Sure! You should come on up and eat at Country Cousins! :) People come from far and wide to eat at our lil restaurant. If you want a REAL DEAL mennonite cookbook...I could hook you up. We've got the Toews family book (my fav) Friesen Family, Kitchen Treasures, Christian home cook book and then the ones just referred to as the yellow or the green one. Maybe I should do a giveaway on my blog with one of these books...hmm...

    Anyway, thanks for making my day! :)

  3. Well I feel like I had some school today and learned something new!! I had never heard this. Yummy recipe by the way xoxo Clarice

  4. Ha! What fun. After being with a bunch of Mennonite Women I can attest to the fact that their food really does Schmeck!

  5. I love those cookbooks - they are an enjoyable read not to mention the delicious recipes. I really like to read cookbooks that tell stories and interesting tidbits along with the recipes. I think you'll really enjoy them Jody.

  6. I learned a new word! Love it.
    And can't wait to try the cake. Think I will make it today.


  7. Ahhh, ja, das schmeckt gut! The german phrase I remember hearing a lot in german classes. Love a good dump cake -- they're so nice and easy -- Yum!

  8. Oh, I was just saying how I "need" to make a chocolate cake:)

  9. What a fun word! And a delicious looking cake!

  10. Oh, the dump cake looks and sounds delicious. What other comfort foods are you going to put on the table this fall? I'm glad you ordered the second cookbook.

  11. mmm-mmm....I had forgotten that word from my German studies, but I plan to get it into regular use now! Speaking of Mennonite cookbooks, do you use the More With Less cookbook, too? I copied SO many recipes from a friend's copy decades ago, and was thinking about ordering my own now.

  12. Joanne,

    Ah ha! You do live in Amish/Mennonite country, but I didn't know Edna was from your corner of the world.


    I'd love to come eat at Country Cousins and have roll kuchen for birthday cake. I'd love to get hooked up with one of your authentic Mennonite/German cookbooks.

    Now you have a new, descriptive word for your tasty foods!

    Ellen B,
    Aren't you part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog?

    Island Sparrow,
    I love cookbooks with a bit of history too.

    Ranch Wife,
    I hope you make the cake. I love it!

    You're such a smart German student! Ja!

    Plain and Joyful,
    Yes, you do NEED to make chocolate cake. It's good for your soul.

    I like that it's a little cake.

    Pom Pom,
    Tonight I have a turkey breast in the crockpot and I'll serve up some mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls and maybe a lil pumpkin pie too.

    Gretchen Joanna,
    I do not own More With Less, but it has been in the back of my mind to order it for some time. I'd like to quit copying good recipes and have them all within a couple of excellent cookbooks.

    Thanks, everybody, for your sweet comments.


  13. What a great post...never have heard of a Schmeckfest...but it sounds like something right up my alley! Thank you so much for the education...links...and recipes! I can't wait to explore them all.

  14. Thanks for visitng our blog..'mennonite girls can cook' and commenting on my orange cake.
    Enjoyed reading your blog. I'll be back.

  15. I had Edna Staeblers cookbook food that really schmecks!Most of her recipes have a story that goes with them,it really makes it feel like you are cooking with Oma.What a sweet lady she was.One recipe that I really love is her chicken hingle pot pie, give it a try it is lovely!I have a great Mennonite cookbook too, very old fashioned and sparse on directions, so you have to be a confident cook or else don't bother!My background is Mennonite, so I am familiar with the food...:)Jen


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