Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Concord Grape Pie Recipe

This is a relatively basic recipe, but it seems little known in Missouri. But now that Missouri’s grape industry is such big guns, it’s time we learned how to make grape pies.

Concord grape pies are delicious and deserve to be more common than they are, and making this pie will prove it to you. (I’m still groovin’ on our beautiful, glorious cornucopia of Ohio Concords!)

I’ve mentioned this recipe before, and I’ve told you the story of how I started making it back in college. It was a labor of love!

I learned how to make it the hard way. The biggest deal with cooking with Concords is processing them—getting the seeds out! (Most people don’t care to eat a crunchy pie!)

Below, I tell you how to process the grapes in record time. What I usually do is buy a big batch of grapes at once—they’re only in season for a short while. I measure them out into preset quantities (usually 3 cups), process, put into freezer zip-bags, squeeze the air out, and freeze flat so it doesn’t take them long to thaw. Grape pies are easy to make once you’ve processed the grapes!

My recipe is not groundbreaking; it’s based on a recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (1953, p. 308) (a delightful facsimile edition of the vintage 1953 book was recently published); plus, I’ve altered it per advice I got from my friend’s mother, and I’ve even made a few modifications myself.

And sure, you can try flour or tapioca as alternative thickeners, but good luck with that. I’ve found corn starch, and plenty of it, works the best.

P.S. Don’t forget to have some vanilla ice cream around so you can serve it à la mode!

Concord Grape Pie

3 cups of Concord grapes, including skins, processed to remove seeds (see below)
1 cup sugar
dash salt
dash nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 rounded tablespoons corn starch
pastry for a 9-inch double-crust pie
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring grape pulp and skins to a boil and turn off heat; stir in salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice. In a separate small bowl, add a ladleful of this mixture to the corn starch and stir to dissolve the corn starch; add this to the rest of the grape mixture and stir to combine.

Roll out pie dough and arrange bottom crust in pie pan. Fill with grape mixture. Dot pieces of butter over the filling, and arrange top crust, cutting holes or slits in top. (Brush top with lightly beaten egg white and/or sprinkle with sugar, whatever you like to do.)

Bake at 400 degrees for up to 40 or 50 minutes. Keep an eye on it; if the edge starts to brown too fast, use a pie crust protector. Having a large piece of foil beneath the pie to catch potential drips is also a good idea.

It’s done when it’s done!

Processing Seeded Grapes (Such as Concords)

I have tried to deseed grapes any number of ways, from picking the seeds out by hand, one by one, with a pointy knife (not recommended!), to using a sieve . . . to my current method. It requires a food mill, which might seem a bit expensive, but you’ll be amazed at how many uses you’ll find for it.

Another note: consider your eventual use of the grapes. If you will want a very smooth consistency (say, for jam), you might chop or even purée the skins before adding them back in to the mix.

1. Pluck grapes from stems into measuring cup, measuring quantity desired for recipe use (I use 3-cup quantities for most recipes).

2. Rinse grapes in colander and wash your hands.

3. Get comfortable with two “bowls” in front of you: one a small saucepan, the other a plain bowl. Slip the skins from the grapes over the saucepan; the grape “guts” fall into the saucepan. Drop the empty skins into the other bowl. Do the whole batch. Listen to good music! I like jazz.

4. Over medium heat, cook the grape “guts,” stirring often, simmering until the pulp breaks down and seeds separate out.

5. Pour pulp, juice, and seeds into a food mill positioned over a bowl and process to remove seeds. (This is much easier than the alternative: trying to press the pulp through a wire strainer with a spoon. Or you can try using one of these old-style conical aluminum thingies—or on second thought, maybe not.)

6. Reunite reserved grape skins with processed pulp and juice; stir to combine.

7. Your processed grapes are now ready for your recipe—or you can freeze them at this point for convenient later use (I freeze each batch flat in a freezer zip-bag, squeezing all the air out).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Venison Jelly—Another Spiced Grape Concoction

If you Google "pickled grapes" or "spiced grapes," you'll find a lot of fascinating recipes. But I was just poking around in another very old cookbook and I discovered a recipe similar to the “Pickled Grapes” from the Hearthstone.

In this instance, the recipe is called “Venison Jelly” and is obviously recommended as a condiment for your venison!

It’s from page 546 of The Settlement Cook Book: Tested Recipes from the Settlement Cooking Classes, the Milwaukee Public School Kitchens, the School of Trades for Girls, and Experienced Housewives, compiled by Mrs. Simon Kander [that is, Lizzie Black Kander, 1858–1940] (Milwaukee: Settlement Cook Book Co., 1921).

I must write more about this particular cookbook someday—this volume was my Grandma Schroeder’s cooking textbook from her domestic science class in 1922–1923. It’s full of great recipes! An absolute trove. You can find it online here.

Venison Jelly

1 peck wild grapes, or 12 lbs. concord grapes,
1 quart vinegar,
1/4 cup whole cloves,
1/4 cup stick cinnamon,
6 lbs. sugar.

Put first 4 ingredients into a preserving kettle. Heat to boiling and cook until grapes are soft. Strain through a jelly bag and boil the juice 20 minutes. Add sugar and boil 5 minutes, or until it jells. Turn into glasses.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Hearthstone’s Pickled Grapes: “Especially Nice for the Tea-Table”

Today I’m returning to a very old book we picked up at a used bookstore: The Hearthstone; or, Life at Home: A Household Manual [etc., etc.], by Laura C. Holloway (Philadelphia: Bradley, Garretson, 1883, yes, 1883).

Among the “Cookery Recipes” in this volume are several formulas for various types of pickles. Obviously, in the 1880s, if you wanted to have anything remotely resembling a fruit or vegetable in the wintertime (not counting potatoes, cabbage, and apples), you needed to preserve it before it went “south.”

I try to imagine what winter dinners were like before refrigeration, advanced greenhouses, and rapid transcontinental shipping: Meat ’n potatoes ’n cabbage. Potatoes ’n cabbage ’n meat. Cabbage ’n meat ’n potatoes . . .

So when Mom would have you go to the basement and fetch up a jar of pickled peaches, zesty gherkins, or zippy tomato catsup, it would turn the mundane into something you could, well, relish.

I encourage you to check out the recipes in this book. You can find digital copies of it online. Some of its pickle recipes today seem a tad unusual—including pickled nasturtiums, pickled damsons, cucumber catsup, and walnut catsup!

But the one we’re talking about today is on page 511: “Pickled grapes.” With my glorious abundance of Concords, I have plenty to experiment with. So I tried it this week!

No, it’s not as bad as you think—it’s not like dill or sour pickles. It’s more along the lines of “pickled peaches”—flavored with cloves and cinnamon, and brightened with apple cider vinegar—except with grapes, it acquires the texture of a sauce or jelly. It makes a great relish for any kind of dry meat that harmonizes with sweet flavors. It would be great on turkey, I think, or with pork chops or white-meat chicken.

Hey, maybe you could make this for Thanksgiving! The deep purple hue and the silky texture would be an interesting alternative to the usual ol’ cranberry-stuff you usually serve.

And it would be good on biscuits, and all of that kind of stuff, too. —Oatmeal? Why not!

And it’s good on crackers!

Here’s the recipe. I quartered it (those quantities and my notes appear after the official, full recipe).

Be careful not to overcook it; this recipe relies on the natural pectin in the grapes. If your grapes don’t quite “jelly,” don’t sweat it. It’s just fine when it’s on the runny side.

Here we go, verbatim from the book:

Pickled Grapes.—Seven pounds of ripe grapes, picked from the stems, and boiled until the skins will pass through a colander; three and a-half pounds of sugar, one-half pint of vinegar, one ounce each of whole cloves, cinnamon and allspice; all boiled together until it jellies. Put in glasses, and turn out in form. These pickles are especially nice for the tea-table.

But now, here’s how I did it: I processed the grapes in my usual way: I measured the cupfuls of grapes first; slipped off and reserved the skins; boiled the insides until soft and passed them through a food mill to deseed them. To ensure a fairly smooth texture, I chopped up the skins before reuniting them with the grape “guts.” Then I proceeded as the recipe says, cooking all ingredients together. I didn’t can (preserve) it; I’m just keeping it in the fridge. Depending on how much you cook it down, the quartered version will make no more than a few pints. Mine made about a pint and a half.

Here are the quantities for my quartered version:

3 cups Concord grapes (about 1.75 lbs.), processed as above to remove seeds
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. cloves (I used powdered)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice

I wish I could give you some to try, because I think it's delicious. But maybe that's "just me." So when you try this recipe, make sure you write and tell me what you think!

Addendum: A few days after posting this, I found a similar recipe in another old cookbook, and it was recommended specifically as a relish for venison. Click here for my post on it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Abundance; Wealth

Back in the eighties and nineties, I had a friend who was fairly hung up on the idea of “abundance,” or “wealth.” She devoured all those New Agey books on the subject—you know—the ones that say that we are all wealthy by our very God-natures, and if you really, truly believe you are wealthy, believe that you already are wealthy, and you believe it so much that you act like you are wealthy, then you will become wealthy.

There are a lot of problems with the circular reasoning in this scheme; the magic doesn’t “work” until you fully believe you are wealthy, and if you fully believe you are wealthy, then that’s that—mission accomplished! The problem, and the magic, is that wealth is a state of mind; it’s not a number.

Now, I’m not going to get into actual economics here—they are bleak for most people in the world, as the super-rich become ever more so, and the middle class drifts into peasantry. And yes, those doggone Wall Street financiers who crippled our economy should go to prison—or pay the amount of the bailout. But today I’m not talking about our ability to pay for the things we need.

What I’m talking about is the feeling of wealth, the sense of abundance.

It’s something I’ve felt since we returned from Ohio, and it’s something I see on Facebook when my friends share pictures of their tomato harvest (Rhoda!) or mention the quantity of fresh basil they harvested (Ginny!).

In Ohio, we visited Burnham Orchards, in Berlin Heights, famous for its fresh produce, which, in the fall . . . means apples!

You might remember me talking about “Lutheran Apples” last year about this time; well, because of storm damage to the Lexington/Waverly–area orchards (that area got a tornado the same day that Joplin got zapped), the local Lutherans’ annual fund-raiser sale of apples wasn’t held this year. So my folks didn’t buy ten million apples this fall and share ’em with us.

So this year, Sue and I turned the tables when we were at Burnham’s and purchased a half-bushel each of three different apples—golden delicious, Jonathan, and Cortland. And then we split them with my folks. It felt great to send them home with a big bunch of apples!

Oh yeah: Applesauce, baked apples, apple oat bran muffins, fried apples, apples in the stir-fries, apples in the salads, apples in the potatoes (Himmel und Erde!), apple fritters, apple dumplings, apple pancakes . . . joy!

Then also . . . while we were in Ohio, Sue’s sister and her family have a nice-sized planting of grapevines in their backyard. Concords! . . . And the vines were laden. Every time we raised a leaf, we saw a cluster of grapes.

Sue’s sister is recovering from a broken foot, so jelly-making is “out” for her this year. So she was saying to us, “Take all you want. Seriously! We’re not going to be using them. Here, let me get you some containers to put them in.”

Now, when we were in St. James, Missouri, a few weeks ago, we had bought some grapes at a roadside stand—I’d already measured, processed, and frozen them. It would be enough for about three pies. That should be enough till next fall.

So when Sue’s sister told us to pick as many as possible, my mind got to seesawing between thoughts like “how many times I’ve bought Concords at the store, and here she is, giving them away!” and all the ideas for what I can do with this windfall of lovely little purple globes: Grape pie, grape kuchen (traubenkuchen!), grape tart, grape preserves, grape jelly, grape muffins, grape pancake syrup . . .

So in addition to a bushel and a half of apples in our trunk, we also returned with more than a peck of fresh, beautiful Concords. You know how I feel about fruits; I adore them.

All the way home, the car smelled ambrosial!

. . . And I felt very wealthy, indeed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New in Jefferson City—the Munichburg Tavern!

NOTE: I UNDERSTAND THE MUNICHBURG TAVERN IS NOW CLOSED, but I'm keeping this posted anyway. --JULIE (JULY 2013)

After work, Sue and I went for a walk in our neighborhood, and we discovered that this is opening night for our new neighbor: the Munichburg Tavern!

We were thrilled when the Ecco Lounge, also in Munichburg, was refreshed and reopened—how cool is it to have a nifty, historic restaurant and lounge just a few blocks from your home?

Well, my friends, now we can multiply that coolness times two: the Munichburg Tavern’s got good food, plus they have something like twenty-six beers on tap. It’s good beers, too: microbrews and imports. (They might have some mass-produced American big-name beers available, but I think they keep them hidden away in a back room.)

It’s too early for me (or anyone) to do an in-depth food review, since the place has just opened. But I can give you an idea of what the restaurant’s like.

Lots of wood in there: booths along the far wall, and high tables with bar stools. Exposed ductwork. Industrial-type brick walls and concrete floors that bounce the sound around (with much of a crowd, it will get noisy).

There’s a nice long bar on the east side of the room, with a chalkboard above it listing all the interesting beers available, along with the alcohol-by-volume numbers (in case you’re keeping track). They’ve got a terrific selection of brews, offering a wide range to suit everyone’s taste.

I gather that the beers will be changing somewhat, and that they will have a nightly special on some individual beer selection (tonight’s special was a Spaten Premium Lager). They have a printed beer menu available, which provides brief descriptions of each of the brews.

They said that whenever someone orders a German beer, they serve it in an authentic German mug. This is a Hofbräu mug!

I asked if they have any nonalcoholic beers available yet, and they said no—but that they will get some. (Well? I have to ask. I think every place that sells beer should offer at least one n/a beer option. Who wants a sody-pop or iced tea when everyone else is sipping beer?)

The food includes appetizers, burgers, brats, sandwiches (and sides), and pizza. And desserts. We started off with simple chips and salsa. Sue had a veggie burger (they offered us a choice of veggie burgers: Boca, black bean, garden, etc.—wow, that’s unusual to get a choice), and she got it with fries.

I had a bratwurst—served on a bun. Of all things, they offer a choice of brats—herb, cheese, or pineapple. A bit of kraut and mustard was served to the side. I selected sautéed veggies as my side; other choices include potato salad, coleslaw, fries, and so on.

(Sorry my pictures aren't better; the lighting was poor and my color-correction skills are abysmal. It looked much more appetizing than this!)

The pizzas looked pretty good, from what we saw on other people’s tables. The crust looked about medium thick, and it was cut into wedges (not the ubiquitous Jefferson City “square cut” pizza). Most of the topping choices were fairly routine, though artichoke hearts, feta, and bleu cheese go a bit beyond the standard.

Again, I’m just telling you all this to give you an idea of what they’re offering right now—I wouldn’t be surprised if they tweak the menu in coming weeks and months.

I should mention that everyone there was very friendly to us. And why shouldn’t they be? It was the first night, and I was there with a camera! But seriously, I do think they’ll treat you right when you go.

Here’s some more information: They have an area set aside for playing bocce ball! That game has gotten incredibly popular here in the capital city, in part because Prison Brews (a brewpub across town, over by the former prison) also has bocce courts and has partnered with the local Kiwanis to sponsor a bocce league.

There’s something like thirty bocce teams, now, here in this town! Profits, I understand, go to charitable causes such as the local Boys and Girls Club.

Now, because the same people who started Prison Brews are in charge of our new Munichburg Tavern, I suspect the courts here will spread “bocce fever” even more.

As we sat there munching and sipping, Sue and I kept marveling about how great it is to have another quality restaurant in our neighborhood. When we moved to Munichburg a decade ago, we had serious doubts about where the neighborhood was “headed.” But this happy, clean, sure-to-be-popular place is one more piece of proof that Munichburg’s moving in the right direction.

And speaking of “directions,” I know you’re thinking, “Now, where is it again—?” It’s at 418 West Elm Street, between Arris’s Bistro and Fechtel Beverage (the local Miller distributor). Oh, here: It’s easier to just draw you a map. . . . We’ll see you there!

Munichburg Tavern
418 W. Elm St.
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(You know, you can click on any of my pictures, and a bigger version should open up.)

Munichburg Tavern on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meet the Baxes!

Hey, folks, today was the annual Fall Supper at St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Westphalia, Missouri!

And it was a beautiful fall day—sunshine, blue skies, a nice breeze, comfortable dry air.

The food, of course, was incredibly delicious: Tender, flavorful German pot roast, homemade whole-hog sausage, kraut with beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, apple sauce. Bread (you want to sop up all the good juices!), and, of course, your choice of dessert.

I always skip the cakes and brownies and go for a slice of fruit pie—whatever looks homemade and seasonal. Today my choice was blackberry/raspberry pie. Dad selected gooseberry pie!

Gosh, darn it, I forgot to take pictures of the food! I keep forgetting to do that at these church suppers. But you know how it is—as soon as you sit down, the platters and bowls of food start circuiting the table, and then your plate is full, and before you know it, you’re all done. Lickin’ your chops!

Today’s supper was special, however! Remember that newlywed couple my dad happened to photograph on October 17, 1964, as they departed through the church gates riding on the back of a manure wagon? And four days after I posted the picture, the couple had been identified: It was Elmer and Rita Bax!

Well, I met them in person today!

It was really fun to connect with them and their family, and yes, they’re all delightful, cordial, wonderful people. And yes, Rita was slicing pies when I met her! And this afternoon, Elmer was the Bingo caller!

They’re a good lookin’ couple, aren’t they!

I even got to meet Rita’s sister and brother-in-law, who are visiting from Albuquerque. This is the sister who had been casually doing Internet searches on “Westphalia, Missouri” when she stumbled upon the photo of Elmer and Rita: “Hey, isn’t that—!?”

And I got to introduce them to my father, who had taken the two photos of them in 1964, when he happened to be in Westphalia with a group of graduate students, touring the historic sites in the town. Naturally, when he saw the wedding couple riding in a manure spreader (of all things), he had to take a picture.

Rita explained that it’s a tradition in Westphalia for newlyweds to think up novel ways to ride away from the church. It’s not so much a “luck” thing as it is simply fun. Lately, she said, hay wagons have been popular. And one couple, for example, rode away on a pontoon!

The Baxes have been married forty-seven years as of tomorrow. To celebrate their anniversary, and to thank them for letting me harass them publicly on the Internet, I gave them a framed version of this photo.

(Gosh, isn’t the Internet a fascinating thing?)

Where the Heck Have I Been?

I’ve been busy—yeah, I know, lame excuse! Bad blogger! But as you know, this is the best time of year to be in the Midwest, and alive, and I’ve been trying to soak it all in. This post is my list of excuses for not having blogged for a while.

The fall colors this year haven’t been especially spectacular, but the flowers (asters, chrysanthemums, etc.) have been doing well, and the trees have been doing their best, even though it was just too dry for them this summer and fall.

I don’t talk much about my work life on this blog, but this is kind of cool: One of my current freelance activities involves the Missouri Department of Conservation’s “Fall Color” website, where you can view weekly reports on the progress of autumn from foresters representing all of Missouri’s regions.

And yeah, apart from the dryness, the temperatures have been great, with the clear blue skies and dry air so perfect for hiking, and cool evenings that are optimal for sleeping.

On October 1, we visited, for the first time, the town of Versailles’s “Old Tyme Apple Fest,” billed as the state’s largest one-day festival. And it was very fun, with perfect weather. Good music! Lots of craft and food vendors!

Versailles, Missouri, as you know, is pronounced vurr-SAY-ullz. It’s the seat of Morgan County and became famous as an apple-growing area. (Remember when we talked about Jacob’s Cave, also in Morgan County? At one time, it was used as a cool storage place for the region’s apples!) Today, the town is more famous as a northern gateway to the Lake of the Ozarks.

I was certainly expecting to see more “Old Tyme Apple stuff” than I did, but there were a few vendors selling caramel apples, and the Lions had an antique steam-powered apple squisher and press and were selling apple cider, and that was great!

I was terribly impressed by one food vendor from Iowa, the “Corn Roasting Company.” They had a big yellow corn roaster and were selling ears of roasted corn—with the husks pulled back into a “handle”—with your choice of Mexican, Cajun, or “American” seasonings. They were also selling fried dill pickles, homemade jalapeno poppers (with bacon!), spicy linguiça sausage, and cute little single-serving-size smoky meatloafs (cooked and served in a pot-pie pan). This was totally not your average “festival food” (though there was plenty of that around, too).

We ended up “eating our way” through that festival, even though, in the interest of saving some money, we’d packed a lunch of baloney sandwiches, grapes, and potato chips.

We ended up having our “lunch” as a picnic dinner during sunset on the Osage, after a pleasant drive through Tuscumbia, St. Elizabeth, and Meta, and a hike through Painted Rock Conservation Area to the river’s edge.

. . . And then, last week, we traveled to northern Ohio—a driving trip, so we got to enjoy all the fall color between here and there. Driving north, I had expected to see the progression of autumn in a speeded-up, telescoped way, but the latitudinal gradient seemed to have little effect on the color this year. Moisture seems to have dictated the timing and intensity of color instead. In fact, it was greener in northern Ohio than it was in Missouri.

One of the fun things I’ve been up to—well, it’s fun for me—especially on car trips, is that I’ve been learning to recognize the various makes of trucks (yeah—as in semis, eighteen-wheelers, class 8 trucks). So I’ve been scrutinizing the shapes of radiators, insignia badges, and the overall designs of the vehicles.

Except to zip around them while ascending a hill, and stuff like that, I had never paid much attention to trucks before.

I started trying to learn to distinguish them on our way home from our Fourth of July trip to Ohio, and on this trip I was pleased to discover that I’ve gotten pretty darn good at telling a Kenworth from a Peterbilt from a Freightliner, and a Mack from an International. It’s kind of like learning how to identify the various species of birds.

Some are fairly rare. Western Stars, for example, are definitely a minority. They’re based in South Carolina, although, like Freightliner and Sterling, the company’s a subsidiary of Daimler.

It’s also rare, now, to see any kind of large COE—cab-over-engine configuration—on the interstates. The flat-fronted, less-aerodynamic design is out of vogue these days, except for smaller, in-town delivery trucks, where drivers appreciate having a better view for maneuvering.

International is currently making a model, the “LoneStar,” with a striking profile—its grille is heavy with chrome, V-shaped, steeply slanted, with a strongly retro/hot-rod feel. Its design was inspired by the look of 1939 International pickups. Compared to the un-aerodynamic fronts of classic, heavy-duty Peterbilts and Kenworths, this sleek truck might prove to be a pacesetter for future design.

I’ll bet you didn’t know all this stuff!

What is this knowledge good for? I don’t know. You could say the same thing about learning to identify songbirds at a glance. Maybe I’m practicing keeping my mind active, for when I get older.

What else have I been up to? Some of you know that I started blogging when I found myself unable to play the trumpet. Blogging, I thought, might provide an alternative creative outlet. But seriously, there’s no comparison, and I never completely gave up on the trumpeting.

In the past month, I’ve gotten some news that’s given me hope, and it’s actually led me to physical therapy, which is helping. It seems I have a partial and nonclassical form of “facial paresis”—something like Bell’s palsy—making my facial muscles imbalanced. And this seems to be at the root of my trumpeting problems.

So I’ve been doing facial exercises designed to “even up” the muscles on both sides of my face. There are two goals: to make the various muscles equally strong on both sides, and to train my neuromuscular impulses and movements to be better coordinated on left and right.

Some of these exercises involve “smiling.” I do them before a mirror, to make sure the sides are balanced. I have to admit, it makes me kind of happy just watching myself do these exercises!

And I’ve been practicing my trumpet more—I’m able to play some things that would have seemed hopeless a few months ago. A few days ago, I even played a few lines of Arban’s Characteristic Study no. 2! There are plenty of frustrations, still, but this is definitely moving in the right direction. Even though it’s cutting into the blogging time.

The next thing, of course, is the “plant dance”: bringing in our tropical plants, digging up the hibiscus and elephant ears, and all that. I don’t want to wait until the last day before it freezes. Plus, there’s the storm windows . . . wonder how we’ll rank this year on the “cussometer”?

But don’t worry—I’m not forgetting about the blog!

Thanks again to Sue for sharing her excellent pictures with me! Only two of these are mine. I can't tell you how nice it is to have such great photos to use in my blog!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Celebrate: Today Is a U.S. National Holiday!

Hey, folks! I received this message in my e-mail today. I want to share it with you! It's addressed to "all members and friends of the Old Munichburg Association"--and if you're reading my blog, then this must mean you!

It's from the president of the Old Munichburg Association, Walter Schroeder. (Yeah, he's my dad!) I'm inserting a few hyperlinks for more information.


This is a national holiday! In 1983 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October 6th as German-American Day to celebrate and honor the 300th anniversary of German American immigration and culture to the United States. On August 6, 1987, Congress approved S.J. Resolution 108, designating October 6, 1987, as German-American Day. It became Public Law 100-104 when President Reagan signed it on August 18. Every year since, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation calling on Americans "to observe the Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities." (Go on-line to read President Obama's proclamation.)

Since we have no civic ceremonies in Jefferson City, you can choose for yourself how to celebrate with an "appropriate activity." Hamburgers and hotdogs (wieners) and beer are German. Our social security system, including retiring at age 65, was modeled after the German social security sytem of the 1870s. Our university graduate education was modeled after German higher education. So is kindergarten. The list goes on and on.

Celebrate and enjoy the day, whether you are of German ancestry or not.

. . . And I would like to add a big, fat, Hoch soll er Leben!