A Taste of History from Northern Kittitas County – Favorite Recipes

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A Taste of History: Cookbook & History Book

Turn of the century America was a melting pot, and the pot had to be rather large in Northern Kittitas County to accommodate all the ethnicicities. Italians, Croatians, Serbs, Poles, Lithuanians, Swedes, Germans and Hungarians followed on the heels of “the English” – Scots, Brits, Welsh and Irish who came in the late 1800s. African Americans brought in as strike breakers in 1888 completed the mix – a profusion of customs and languages spreading from Jonesville and Ronald to Rosly, Cle Elum and South Cle Elum.

Most came to wokr in the mines; all were governed by the coalmining culture defining the rhythms of the community. It was the glue that bound the disparate groups together, but each ethnicity maintained their own foods unique to the heritage that set them apart. Bagna Cauda and Ravioli from Italy, Povatica and Pigs in a Blanket from Croatia, Kugelis from Lithuania and Pfeffernusse from Germany – each ethnic dish was a memory from a home that many would never see again, and a link across the generations.

So in many ways, a cookbook is both a history book and a family album. Within these pages are family favorite recipes – a snapshot of traditional mixed with old country, mixed with new and revised. Whenever possible, we’ve added snippets of family remembrances and customs, and have included, with permission, reipes from some of our Upper County ladies who have since passed away.

Today, there’s a new diversity in Upper County – a blend of multi-generational familys with roots deeply embedded into the fabric of local history, mixed w

ith new waves of immigrants who bring their own unique heritage and traditions. From that pot emerges a flavor uniquely Northern Kittitas County

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  • Appetizers & Beverages
  • Soups & Salads
  • Vegetables & Side Dishes
  • Main Dishes
  • Breads & Rolls
  • Desserts
  • Cookies & Candy
  • This & That
  • Index
  • APPENDIX – HANDY REFERENCE/TIPS
    • Pantry Basics
    • Herbs & Spices
    • Baking & Breads
    • Baking Desserts
    • Vegetables & Fruits
    • Napkin Folding
    • Measurements & Substitutions
    • Equivalency Chart
    • Food Quantities for Large Servings
    • Quick Fixes
    • Counting Calories
    • Cooking Terms
    • Microwave Hints

BOOK REVIEW:

Historical Recipes from Local Families and Their Stories Featured in This Unique Cookbook

a Jim Fossett article in the Oct. 26, 2016 NKC Tribune:

UPPER COUNTY – Lyn Derrick, former editor of the NKC Tribune, and Sue Litchfield a former writer for the newspaper, collaborated on a cookbook for the Northern Kittitas County Historical Society entitled A Taste of History.

This work of art spotlights the variety of dishes evolving from the ethnic melting pot credited with putting the Upper County on the map: Italian Bagna Cauda (garlic heaven) and ravioli, Croatian povitica (walnut roll) and Pigs in the Blanket, Lithuanian kugelis (potato heaven), and German pfeffernussen (peppery cookies).

Key to the success of the book, critics say, is the way Litchfield and Derrick spiced and stirred this collection of recipes with the trademark, country-elegance of Upper County people, their olden day photos and their stories.  

“In many ways,” the authors wrote, “a cookbook is both a history book and a family album. Within these pages are family favorite recipes – a snapshot of traditional mixed with old country, mixed with the new and revived.”

The cookbook is indexed and divided into eight sections: Appetizers & Beverages, Soups & Salads, Vegetables & Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Breads & Rolls, Desserts, Cookies & Candy and This & That.

People Stories

Said Carpenter House Museum volunteer Charlene Kauzlarich: “Each section of the cookbook bears a picture, embellished with a story of a local old-timer or a story from an era in the region’s history.” For instance, introducing the section entitled Vegetables & Side Dishes, is a photo of Pauline Barich in her kitchen feasting on her favorite evening snack: cold polenta out of the pan. “Like many Upper County women, Pauline spent much of her day in the kitchen. She and her husband had 14 children and she cooked all of their meals over a wood Monarch stove. Meals were supplemented by vegetables from the large garden the family planted each year, along with fruit from their apple, plum and cherry trees, and the boys picked huckleberries at the end of each summer.”

Said Kauzlarich, “The stories really make the book.” One of my favorites is the one about Ginger Stogdell’s German grandmother, Augusta Puzich Stieber.” 

Said Ginger, “My Oma was convinced America was uncivilized. She pictured herself cooking on the hearth of a fireplace in a shoddy house surrounded by bears and wolves.”
 
As Stogdell tells it, Augusta was “bribed” into making the trip with the promise a modern stove would be waiting for her when she arrived.  Her picture, along with the stove, fronts the last section of the book, entitled This & That.

Proceeds from sales support preservation projects managed by the historical society, the Carpenter House and Telephone Museums in Cle Elum.

Now available at Tribune Office Supply & Printing, 807 W. Davis St., Cle Elum, by Taco Bell, or online at KittitasBooks.com

Derrick said a sequel for the book is already in the works. “Sometime in the future we’ll do a follow-up edition, hopefully with another interesting twist – but we’ll leave you guessing about what that will be.”