When we first started Center for White Rose Studies, we envisioned a “fun” update of Henriette Davidis’ 1879 Cookbook for Germans in America as one of our primary, long-term fundraisers. Joyce Heap accepted the responsibility for taking the literal translations of Davidis’ … unusual… recipes, and playing with them until they conformed to modern expectations.

Her project included reducing serving sizes, since few households serve a family of twelve plus farmhands. She also planned to make the recipes healthier – less sugar and butter, for example. And of course, she was going to make them simpler! Not even Julia Childs would likely have the patience that Henriette Davidis’ readers enjoyed.

But with Joyce’s death, we had to shelve the project. We’re therefore asking friends of the Center for White Rose Studies to don aprons and dust off baking tins and frying pans. Try some of the recipes. Experiment with measurements.

If you have an old family recipe that sounds a whole lot like a recipe you see here, add YOUR version via “comments” – when the cookbook is finally finished, we’ll credit everyone who made this a success. [Note: Please do NOT try recipes that use endangered species, like heron. We have left them in this translation for informational purposes only!]

And if your family recipe has a story connected to it, please add it as well. Our cookbook will be a history lesson too, reminding us how interconnected we all are.

Since many of Davidis’ readers were Jewish Germans who had emigrated to the United States, if your family has a version of a recipe that you enjoy at Pesach or High Holy Days, or on Shabbat, let us know about that as well. If it requires kasherizing, tell us how you did that. (Kasherizing will be most necessary in the meats section.)

Let the meals begin!

PS: Extra credit to anyone who tries out the stranger recipes, e.g. tongue. Although we really don’t expect any of you to cook sparrow…

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