Pommerscher Verein Freistadt
The Pomeranian Society of Freistadt
The Pomeranian Society of Freistadt

Customs, Events and Recipes

This Pommern harvest festival was comparable to our Thanksgiving; Ernte - meaning harvest and Dank - meaning thanks. The Pomeranian Erntedank was originally held on the first Sunday after the 29th of September, at the end of the harvesting season.  

The harvesting of crops was a strenuous task in historic times. The potato crops were harvested by the whole family, first digging out the potato mounds and then picking through the soil to sort out the tubers. The children would gather the dried vines and burn them, using the fire to roast the smaller potatoes, which were considered a delicacy. When the last potato hill was harvested, they climbed onto the decorated wagon and headed for home.

The custom of Erntedank was centered in the church. A table was decorated with the best produce from the fields and gardens. Baskets of fruits and a harvest crown, Erntekrone, made from the grains were carried into the church and onto the altar. In some churches this produce was distributed to the poor and in others it was sold and the proceeds were given to the poor.  

There were ceremonial rituals connected to the festival, such as, the making of the Alte - an old man made of straw, the decorating of their tools, the wearing of the crown, and almost everyone wore their trachten. Sometimes there were contests for the largest pumpkin grown, or the heaviest fodder of carrots or potatoes. There were festival dinners and everyone ate and drank a lot. Dances, games, and plays were held on the barn threshing floor. These celebrations varied somewhat from village to village.

Palm Sunday was considered as the beginning of Easter Week. Homes were decorated with birch tree branches, or pussy willows that had been forced to leaf out early by being brought into the warmth of the homes a few days earlier.  

Maunday Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, the meal Jesus shared with His disciples the day before He died. Gründonnerstag literally means "green Thursday." Although the name probably comes from an ancient word grein, which meant to cry or weep, the color green is used that day as a symbol of renewal. The meals for the day usually included green foods, like spinach, leeks, beans, and chives.   

Good Friday, the day Christ died on the cross; Karfreitag literally means grief Friday and in most areas, the village was quiet and even the church bells were kept silent. All adornments on the altar and throughout the church were removed. But, in some areas of  Germany  the church services are announced by making a lot of noise with wooden rattles.

There was a tradition of lighting bon fires in the evening before Easter Sunday to chase away the evil spirits of winter. The young men would compete with each other to make the largest fire on a nearby hill. The charcoals from the fire were carried home as it was believed that these coals would give a warmer greeting to guests when burned on a cool evening.

There is an old German saying that when a pig was butchered, every part of that pig was eaten or used in one form or another, that is, all except the squeal. So it was with many things, everything was used for something, even the outer skins of the onion. These skins of shades of red and brown were put aside throughout the winter months for the coloring of the Östereier (Easter egg). Leaves, grasses and small flowers were carefully arranged around each egg, leaving much of the shell exposed, then wrapped with a thin clothe and securely tied. The red onion skins were placed in a kettle, the brown ones in another, and then the eggs were carefully laid in the kettles and covered with cold water. The eggs were boiled for about 10 minutes and when taken from the water and the wrappings removed, they had beautiful designs from the grasses, leaves and flowers on a background of various shades of red, orange, and brown. They were now ready for the forthcoming Österhas (Easter Bunny) to hide in various places for the children to find.

Colored eggs were given as presents as early as the 16th century. The eggs were symbols of fertility and purity. Sometimes eggs were placed in the attics to insure good health and good fortune.

The young Frauleins had a special observance on Easter morning too. Very early, before sunrise, they would walk barefoot and quietly through the dewy grass to the nearest clear water creek. It was important for them to be very quiet and not talk to anyone and wash their faces in the cold water promptly as the sun began to rise. The boys and young men would hide behind shrubs or trees on the path to the creek and try to startle the girls and engage them in conversation. 

The Frauleins believed that the "Easter Water" would magically bless them and make them beautiful. They also filled a bottle with this "Easter Water" from the stream so that they could dip their fingers in it each morning to maintain their newly acquired beauty.  

Many Pomeranians saved the membrane from inside the eggs and covered their fingertips with it. This membrane was kept on their finger-tips throughout the day on Easter to protect them against sickness and evil throughout the entire year.

The Pommern Wedding 
The marriage procedure began with the groom-to-be visiting the parents of the bride-to-be to formally ask for her hand in marriage; the wedding date was determined at that time. The forthcoming marriage was announced in church on the Sunday before the wedding, and the couple would attend communion on that occasion. The wedding party usually began on a Thursday, but the celebration continued on through the following Sunday.  

Even as today, prior to the wedding, the invitations had to be sent out. This service was performed by the Hochzeitsbitter (in some areas he was called the Hochtiedsirer) who was usually a brother of the bride. He wore his Pommerscher Trachten or a black suit with a tall black hat. The hat was decorated with colorful flowers and ribbons. He had a small bouquet of flowers in the button hole of his suit, and carried a staff that was also decorated with colorful ribbons. He rode his horse from house to house, and was usually invited into the parlor of each home; where he treated the future guests to some Schnapps. The memorized poetic invitation was recited and he was presented with a colorful handkerchief as an acceptance to the invitation. This handkerchief or ribbon was pinned to the back of his jacket, and when he greeted the guests or helped in serving them at the wedding, the handkerchiefs were still pinned to his jacket. 

The celebration historically began on the Thursday before the wedding; it began with the Polterabend, which was usually organized by the bridal couple's young friends. They would gather their kitchen utensils to bang on, old pottery to break, cowbells to ring, and whatever else they could find to make a lot of noise. The noise would continue until the bridal pair rewarded them for their efforts. The young noise-makers would bring small gifts and often chickens to be used for the wedding dinner. These young friends sometimes played tricks on the bridal couple, such as putting an old buggy or other items on the roof top of their house. The bridal couple was expected to clean up the mess and bury the pottery pieces behind the house before sunrise. This supposedly indicated that the couple would have a peaceful married life.

During the 19th century, it was customary for the bride to wear black; it wasn't until the early 1900's that white became fashionable. The groom was not allowed to see the bride before he reached the church door. The guests arrived at the wedding ceremony by 10:00 A.M. and a band of musicians welcomed them with the music. It was customary for the guests to tip the musicians, especially if the music pleased them; this custom was called Zur Hochzeit einspielen.

The bride began the bridal dance by climbing onto a stone (usually upon a historic grave of an ancestor) to ask for a blessing from her ancestors. Following the blessing she would then recite, "Hier stehe ich ganz allein auf einem breiten Stein, und wer mich lief hat, holt mich ein." (Here I stand all alone on this stone, and whoever loves me, will bring me down.) The bridegroom would then have to climb up on the stone to claim his bride, and the bridal dance would follow.  

Customarily, the guests were treated to a bounteous chicken dinner, so that das Glück gackern (happiness could cackle). The dinner was followed with a night of dancing that continued until around midnight. The bride was expected to dance with all the male guests and the groom with all the females. The musicians would continue to play until dawn, if they were tipped by the guests. 

In some parts of Pommern, towards the end of the evening of dancing, there was a "Wreath Dance." during which the young bachelors tried to take the bride's bouquet, and the groom was obligated to defend it. While in other areas, the bride would throw her bridal bouquet in the air and the young unmarried girls would try to catch it. Whoever caught it was expected to be the next bride. The last dance was the "Broom Dance," during which a young man would ride the broom between the dancing couples; whenever he dropped the broom by a lady, she was his next dance partner. Everyone would try to get a new partner and whoever was left without a partner had to dance with the broom.  

The bride's parent's home was usually decorated with flags, embroidered with the couple's initials, hung high on the building. Three separated bottles were hung there too. The third day after the wedding was the "Party of the Bullet." The groom was challenged to shoot one of the bottles, with a gun of the guests choice. This was not an easy task, especially since they had been partying for three days.

The house was usually decorated with different themes each day. On the last day of the celebration, arcs were made out of the center of palm tree leaves. The bridal couple would walk underneath the arcs, symbolizing that their love would last an eternity.   

The bridal couple were expected to host a party on the Sunday after the wedding to demonstrate their graciousness and generosity. It was also an opportunity to show off the bride's trousseau and the gifts they had received. The following Tuesday was moving day and everything was loaded onto a wagon and driven to the groom's farmyard. Often times a rooster was stolen from the bride's farm to be let loose at the groom's farm. The resulting rooster fight was to foretell whether the groom or the bride would "rule the roost" in the marriage; this was determined by which rooster won the fight.  

Some superstitions connected with weddings were: 1. If the bride looked back on her walk to the church, it was thought to symbolize that she was thinking of the things she had left behind. 2. If one of the wedding bands were to fall, it was thought that the person who dropped it would be the first to die. 3. As the couple walked from the church, they were to take the first steps together as man and wife and walk very close to each other. This was to prevent any bad vibes or evil powers from coming between them.

When a child was born in Pommern, the father would plant a tree in the garden. If the child was a boy, he would plant an apple tree, if a girl, he would plant a pear tree, and for twins a cherry tree. It was believed the child would then grow up to be good and strong.

The Pomeranians had many superstitions, perhaps originating from pagan customs, prior to their conversion to Christianity. This one came into play when a baby was born during the period between a close relative's death and burial. They feared that the dead person's spirit could cause the child to die, or that it would cause the baby to become an evil person. The parents of the child would frantically call the pastor, even in the middle of the night, to come and baptize the child immediately. The baptism had to be done at once to prevent the death of the child. 

The baptism of healthy babies was done normally following the first regular Sunday church service after its birth. The congregation would stay for the baptism, so that the ceremony was thought to be part of the service. It was a common practice for the parents to remain at home while the Godparents took the child to church. The parents usually chose two male relatives of the father and a female relative of the mother as Sponsors (God-parents) of a male child, and two female relatives of the mother and a male relative of the father for a female child. This position carried great responsibilities. They were to guarantee that the child was taught their Christian faith and serve as an example for the child by "living a good Christian life." They were also expected to take over as parents of the child, if something happened to the parents. It was customary for the Godparents to remember the child with a present on their birthdays and at Christmas until the child was confirmed.

There was a close relationship between the Godparents and their Godchild, but this also had some superstitious omens. For instance, if the Godmother carried the child quickly to the church, it was believed that the child would walk early. In some areas it was believed that the Godparent must use their right hand to bestow presents to the child, otherwise the child would be left handed. The Godparent also should never touch the child while wearing gloves, or the child would then have weak and tiny hands. Shortly after the baptism, the godparents would slip their Patengeschenk under the pillow where the child lay. In earlier times this was usually two Taler. These were put in a box-like envelope and a pious verse was written on the envelope. 

The baptism of twins also brought another superstition into play. The pastor, knowing that twins were born, would be taken by surprise when he was presented with only one child to be christened. When questioned regarding this, the parents stated that it was a family custom not to baptize the twins together; there was no other explanation. Most likely this resulted from some confusion between certain superstitions and the baptismal customs. It was also thought important that a male child and a female child should not be baptized with the same water, otherwise the male child would never grow a beard, but the female child would.   

Many Pomeranians also believed that the baptismal water had healing powers. This lead one woman to make a milk-soup out of the water, which she used as a cure-all for her children whenever they were sick.

Death and Funeral
When the time came that good Pomeranian Christians knew death was near, the Pastor was called to administer the sacrament of Holy Communion to insure the dying person's peace with God. When the final moments of life were eminent, the windows in the room were opened and the close relatives stepped away from the bed to allow the dead person's soul to go directly to heaven with no obstacles in its path. Everyone then prayed and/or sang hymns. The clocks were all stopped at the moment of death and a black cloth was hung on the entrances to the home and the black cloths also covered the mirrors. This was done to keep all satanic powers away.

In some areas of Pomerania, on the day after the death, the church bells would toll, counting out the deceased person's age. In other areas they rang out at three intervals, the first time as the gravediggers removed the sod from the grave site, then again when the digging was done, and the third time when they completed their work.  

The dead person's body was washed and dressed in his/her finest clothing and laid out in a coffin in the parlor or on the dining room table, with their feet towards the door. The body had to be carried out that same way to protect the mourners from being carried along.  

The coffin was taken to the cemetery on a horse-drawn farm wagon. The horses were watched closely during this ritual. If they turned their heads in the direction of a home along the way, it was believed that a person in that house would be the next to die; and if they stopped in front of a house, a person in that house would die very soon. 

It was customary for all the mourners to go the church from the cemetery to attend the funeral service. Usually a large dinner was served after the church service; it traditionally included chicken soup. The meal started off on a somber note, but after several servings of brandy, some of the tenseness disappeared and the tongues were loosened. Gradually, the the mourners became more cheerful and they began to enjoy each others company.  

Erster Mai
May Day In Germany, the first day of May is a national holiday, similar to Labor Day in the USA. It is the International Workers' Day, Tag der Arbeit, when workers gather for rallies and speeches, to collectively express their unity. There are a variety of May festivals that take place.

After the dreariness of winter, and the green fields and trees appeared again, the celebration of spring on May Day was a joyous event, a symbol of spring’s reawakening to fruitfulness. May-bells Maiglöckchen began to bloom and chocolate May Beetles Maikäfer were available in the stores for the children. It inspired many romantic poems and songs like, Mairegen bringt Segen, rain in May brings blessings.  

There were also ceremonial plantings of seedlings or small trees; homes and dance halls were decorated with flowers and green leaves. In some areas Maypoles were set up with community dancing around it: holding hands, dancing, enjoying spirits, usually Maiwein May wine. It was a happy day away from the workplaces.  

Maiwein, a white wine, dedicated to springtime and flavored with fresh Waldmeister, an old-world herb, a small plant with white blossoms, decorative and grown in a shady corner of a German's herb garden. It is used for flavoring only in May, when the new leaves are tender. 

Historically, May was known as the Wonnemond, the month of lovers when a young man's fancy turned to love. The young bachelors organized parties and dances to romance the young maidens of the area. Over the years, the Maubaum May-tree lost its original meaning and became just a celebration of May and spring.

Froehliche Weihnachten
Merry Christmas The favorite daytime meal on the day before Christmas consisted of Bockwurst und Kartoffelsalat (sausage and potato salad). This custom allowed the homemakers more time to concentrate on the preparation of the evening's more elaborate meal and the Bescherung (present giving). 
At dusk on Christmas Eve, friends would gather and treated with Feuerzangebowle, a Pomeranian type of sweetened, spiced, and heated wine. When the guests were seated, they were served appetizers of Kock Kase mit Schwartzbrot (cooked cheese spread with dark bread), Heringe Nach Hausfrauenart"(pickled creamed herring) and Rugenwald tea sausage. The hospitality rules were more relaxed than at other times. Christmas was a time when family and very close friends celebrated together and most non-family activities were suspended for the week.
Dinner was by candlelight and began with Kirschsuppe (warm cherry soup with dumplings). The main course was Pommerscher Gansebraten (roast goose with stuffing) served with gravy, Rotkohl mit Apfeln (red cabbage with apples), and Knoedel (potato dumplings). Many families also included Blue Carp, poached in vinegar and served with horseradish and sweet whipped cream, boiled salt potatoes garnished with parsley and butter. Dessert was Schokolade Pudin (steamed chocolate pudding with hard sauce) and Klotternusse Keks cookies. Other delicacies of the season served as in-between snacks, included Christstollen (long loaves of bread filled with nuts, dried fruit, citron, and raisins), Lebkuchen (spice bars), Reisbrei (a rice pudding flavored with sweet cinnamon), and white sausage. 
The goose was stuffed with vegetables rather than the bread stuffing of Americans. To prepare a Feuerzangenbowle, you need red wine, rum, oranges juice, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves. All lights in the room should be dimmed to provide the appropriate atmosphere. The rum-soaked sugar is lit and as the flames leap up, the sugar drips into the spiced wine.  
Those who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during the night, therefore Dickbauch (fat stomach) is a name given for this opportunity to eat so well and so much.
The Christmas tree, according to tradition, originated in Germany. It is believed that Martin Luther began the tradition of bringing a fir tree into the home. One Christmas Eve he brought in an evergreen tree to his daughter's nursery for her to enjoy since the weather was too bad for her to go outside. He decorated the tree with candles.
The tree has a mysterious magic for the children because they are not allowed to see it until Christmas Eve. Usually the children were occupied with the Christmas Eve church service and when they arrived home the Christmas Tree appeared, usually in the parlor, that special room that was only used for special occasions. The tree was decorated with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, tinsel, family treasures and candles. The presents were placed under the tree. As the children entered this fantastic room, carols were sung, the candles lit, the Christmas story read and the gifts were opened. The Christmas tree lights and candles were essential to the Pomeranians' Christmas celebration.
According to legend, on Christmas Eve in Germany rivers turned to wine, animals spoke to each other, tree blossoms produced fruit, mountains opened up to reveal precious gems, and church bells could be heard ringing from the bottom of the sea. Of course, only the pure in heart could witness this Christmas magic. All others must content themselves with traditional German celebrating, of which there was plenty. As a matter of fact, there was so much celebrating that it had to begin on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day.
As in many other European countries, on the eve of December 6th, children placed a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, hopped from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children were written. If they have been good, he filled the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe was filled with twigs.
Die Weihnachten Rose
The Christmas Rose A Christmas tradition in Pomerania, that originated in about the 12th century, a time when the populous still had not converted to Christianity and Pagan customs prevailed. It is said that the German Bishop, Otto Von Bamberg, made a visit to Stettin and converted some of the residents. Many of the newly converted Christians died because of their beliefs.
An old man who lived in a small village near Stettin, was a Christian, but kept it a secret out of fear of persecution. However, one of his neighbors betrayed him to the Pagan priests, which resulted in him being jailed and sentenced to death. The heathen priests taunted and ridiculed him, and said, "If your God is so powerful, let Him make flowers bloom here in the middle of winter," then you will be set free. The old man prayed throughout the night, but, in the morning he was led to the public hanging tree.  Lo and behold, there, under the old oak tree, flowers were in full bloom. They were to become known as the "Christmas Rose."  With this sign the Pomeranians accepted Christianity. It is believed that the Crossbeak, a rare bird that nests and broods in this northern area at Christmas time, had carried the seed from the south. 

New Year's Eve
The night of the Holy Sylvester, the last night of the year, has always been the night of fools and a funny good time. The saint of this day, Pope Sylvester I, according to legend is the man who was healed from leprosy and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
There was a great amount of drinking, dancing and singing at the Sylvester Balls held that night. As the old year ended and the new year was about begin, everyone refilled their glasses with champagne or wine. Then the hugs and kissing began, accompanied with ein gutes neues Jahr. The bells throughout Germany rang and many revelers ran out in the streets to enjoy the merry sounds. There was usually some private fireworks displays and the sounds of shooting was often heard along with the ringing bells. 
Naturally, there were some superstitions connected with Sylvester. People dropped molten lead into cold water and then interpreted the shape it made into a future event they believed would take place in the coming year. If the shape could be interpreted into a heart or a ring, it meant a wedding, a ship meant a journey, a pig meant there would be a year of plenty, etc.
Traditionally, carp was eaten on Sylvester; it was believed it brought future wealth. It was also important to leave a bit of each type of food on the dinner plate, which was to remain there until after midnight. This insured that they would have plenty of food throughout the coming year.


Feuerzangebowle (Fire Tongue Bowl)        

1 to 6 liters Morgan David Blackberry Royal Wine
cinnamon sticks
whole cardamom
whole allspice
star anise
whole cloves
2 lemons
2 oranges

In large pot, add cinnamon sticks, cardamom, allspice, and anise to wine. Cut oranges and lemons, and stud pieces with cloves.  Crush pieces to release juices and add to punch. Warm to a steaming mixture. Do not boil.

Don't try this at home, but here is how it was traditionally done.
Prior to serving, cross swords on top of pot and place sugar cube - soaked in 151-proof rum and ignite. Remove before serving.

Note:  Use a minimum of 2 liters of wine.  6 liters is sufficient to serve 150 people.

Pommerscher Gansebraten (Pomeranian Roast Goose with Stuffing)

   8 to 9 pound goose                                      1 tablespoon salt
   1 onion (chopped                                         2 tablespoons sugar
   1-1/2 cups pitted prunes (halved)                 1 cup rye bread crumbs
   4 tart apples, peeled, cored and quartered     4 tablespoons flour

Wash and dry goose. Remove giblets and place in 1-quart saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt and onion. Simmer, partially covered, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Strain and reserve stock.

Sprinkle goose inside and out with remaining salt. Combine prunes, apples, rye bread, and sugar; fill cavity of goose. Skewer openings together.  Place on rack in shallow roasting pan with breast side down. Roast in 400° oven for 45 minutes.  Drain fat from pan and reduce oven temperature to 325°. Roast until tender (when pierced with fork and juices are light yellow - about 1 hour). Drain fat from pan; turn goose breast side up; brown until golden, about 30 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and keep warm. Let rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

Skim off remaining fat. Stir flour in 2 cups reserved stock; add to drippings in pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring and scraping browned bits until thickened. Serve with goose.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Souse (Pickled Pigs' Feet)

 4 pigs' feet
2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups stock
1 onion
1 tablespoons clove (or 3 whole cloves)
2 tablespoon salt 
1 bay leaf

Scrape and clean feet well and place in pot with salt watered (to cover). Bring to boil and skim off the foam. Simmer about 3 - 4 hours, or until meat separates from the bone.

Remove the meat and mix stock in which meat was cooked with vinegar, salt, and spices. 
If you have too much liquid, boil it down a little. Refrigerate. Serve cold.

Rotkohl mit Apfeln (Red Cabbage with Apples)

                                         1 head red cabbage (about 2 pounds)        
                                         3 apples, pared, quartered, cored, and chopped
                                         1/3 to 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
                                         3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
                                         4 whole cloves
                                         1/2 cup vinegar
                                         1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

Remove and discard wilted outer leaves of cabbage. Rinse, cut into quarters (discarding core) and coarsely shred (about 8 cups shredded). Place cabbage into 3-quart heavy saucepan and add boiling salted water to cover (1 teaspoon salt per quart of water). Add apples, brown sugar, allspice, and cloves. Cover loosely and boil at moderate rate for 8 to 12 minutes, or until cabbage and apples are just tender. Remove from heat and drain. Add vinegar and butter to cabbage. Toss lightly to mix. Makes 6 servings. 

Pommern Blutwurst (Pomeranian Blood Sausage)

                              1 pound lean pork                       3 pounds fat pork belly
                              1 chopped onion                         1-1/2 teaspoons salt
                              1 teaspoon pepper                      1/4 teaspoon cloves
                              1/4 teaspoon ginger                    1 pint fresh pork blood
                                              pork casings, washed and dried  

Cut half the fat pork and all lean pork into small pieces. Add onion. Cook over moderate heat until fat is flowing. Lower heat and cook 45 minutes. Add seasoning and mix. Grind coarsely. Stir the fresh pork blood gradually into the meat mixture. Dice remaining fat pork finely and add to mixture. Stuff into casings and tie. Place in kettle and cover with water.  Bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Serves 8 or more.

Kopfkäse (Head Cheese)

                                                         1 hog's head
                                                         1 hog's tongue
                                                         salt and pepper
                                                         sage or chili pepper

Clean and scrape hog's head and wash thoroughly. Wash and trim hog's tongue. Cover head and tongue with slightly salted water. Simmer until meat falls from the bone. Drain meat, shred, and season. Pack tightly in bowl, cover, and weigh it down. Let stand 3 days in a cold place. Slice. Makes 6 to 8 pounds. 

Kock Käse mit Schwartzbrot  (Cooked Cheese Spread with Dark Bread)

          12 ounces cottage cheese                   1 teaspoon baking soda
          8 tablespoons butter                           3 tablespoons flour

Mix cheese and baking soda together and let the mixture stand about 1 hour - until it  becomes bubbly and nearly doubles in size. Add flour and butter. Cook a few minutes, until the mixture resembles warm fresh cheese.    
Serve with small slices of dark bread, such as rye.


Heringe Nach Haustrauenart (Pickled Creamed Herring)

                   1 pint pickled herring                                      1/3 cup plain yogurt
                   1 onion, sliced                                                1/3 cup sour cream
                   2 dill pickles, sliced                                         1/3 cup mayonnaise
                   1 medium apple, peeled and chopped               1/4 cup sugar
                   1/8 teaspoon pepper                                       1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
                   1 tablespoon capers                                        paprika

Wash and paper-dry herring and place in bowl. Top with onions, pickles, and capers. Combine yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, dry mustard, and pepper. Add to Herring mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Before serving: add apples and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with crackers. Makes about 3 cups.

Karpfen blau mit Meerrettichsosse (Blue Carp with Horseradish Sauce)
1 carp (4-1/2 lbs) or fresh water perch      Soak carp  3 hours in salted water, wash, 
     scale and dry.
1 large sliced onion      Place in a kettle, bring vinegar to a boil 
     and pour over fish.
1 bay leaf      Let soak about 10 minutes.
     Add sliced onions, bay leaf, herbs, salt 
     and peppercorns.
Mixed dry herbs
     Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, 
     cook fish until tender.
3 black peppercorns      Rinse carp in hot, then cold water.  
     Place back in stock and reheat slowly.     
1 lemon      Move fish to a platter.

Serve with horseradish sauce, boiled potatoes and watercress or a salad.  Garnish with lemon slices.
Sometimes served with potato salad.
This meal is often eaten on Good Friday, but some families also serve it during the Christmas season.

Kirschsuppe (Cherry Soup with Dumplings)

                                 4 cups water                                        1-3/4 cups sugar
                           4 cups fresh pitted sour cherries            1 teaspoon cinnamon
                           1 teaspoon lemon juice 

                           2 eggs - beaten                                    1/3 cup milk
                           1/2 teaspoon baking powder                 1-1/2 cups flour
Boil water with sugar, cinamon, lemon juice. Add cherries and cook until soft - about 15 minutes. Check sweetness and add more sugar, if necessary. Keep at simmer.

Meanwhile, mix egg, baking powder, flour, and milk together. Drop dumpling mix by teaspoons into soup. Continue to cook; this will take about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Serve warm or cold. Makes about 6 servings.

Kartoffel Klöße (Potato Dumplings) 
6 to 8 medium size potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
  1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons margarine
3 slices bread (cut in cubes)
Cook potatoes in water until tender. Drain, cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Peel and mash the cooked potatoes thoroughly. In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, flour, eggs, salt, and nutmeg. Form a firm, but light paste. If mixture is too moist, add flour. This will keep the dumplings from falling apart during cooking. Melt margarine in large skillet. Add bread cubes and sauté until gold brown. Working with floured hands, form potato paste into a roll about 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Cut roll in 8 to 10 pieces. Form pieces into dumplings - enclosing a few sautéed bread cubes in the center of each dumpling. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add dumplings, one at a time, and simmer about 15 minutes. Dumplings are done when they float on top. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and drain well.

Schokolate Pudding (Steamed Chocolate Pudding)

               1 egg                                    1 cup sugar
               1/2 cup milk                          2 tablespoons melted butter
               1 cup flour                             4 teaspoons baking powder
               1 square chocolate, melted (or 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder)
               hard sauce (see recipe below) 

Preheat oven to 300°. Grease 9" x 9" pan. Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Place butter in prepared pan (pan depth about 1"). Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in preheated over and bake about 45 minutes. Do not remove foil until the 45 minutes are over as this will stop the steaming process. Remove from oven, remove foil and place on rack. Pudding should be firm like a cake. 
Serve pudding topped with sauce.  Makes about 9 servings.

Hard Sauce

                                   1/4 cup butter                           1 cup powdered sugar
                                   2 tablespoons rum                     1 egg (separated)

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolk, well beaten. Cook over hot water until thickened. Add rum gradually, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; pour gradually over stiffly beaten egg whites.

Reisbrei (Rice Porridge)

                            1/2 cup converted rice                        1 quart milk
                            a pinch of salt                                    4 tablespoons sugar
                            1 tablespoon butter                            1/4 cup raisons (optional)  

Cook rice in milk with salt and butter, very slowly until kernels are tender, but have not lost their shape. If you have the patience, do this in the top of a double boiler. It will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours, but it will be worth it. The mixture should be very thick and can be stirred several times during cooking. When done, flavor with sugar, cinnamon and add raisons. This may be served hot or cold.

This information was compiled and edited by Edna Cherney who was a member of Pommerscher Verein Freistadt. After her death in 2009, PVF decided to post this information in her honor and memory.