(see previous post about cooking as a reference point)
While we were cooking today, Emma shared little snipets of her life in Russia when she was young and just a glimpse into her story. Honestly there should be a book written about her and my father in law. Briefly, they were Germans living in Russia during the time of Stalin. Boy is that simplistic. The story is HUGE! But, today she let me in to a few of her memories.
I have to confess, as I cook a meal like the Kase Knopf and Kirche Knopf I think -- "where's the protein?" "How about the vegis?"...I have my moments of thinking "this isn't a balanced meal at all." But, then I realize the history behind it. I have NOTHING to be critical about. I'm a bit ashamed.
The reality is Emma and Georg have lived a life that I can only listen to stories about. I have abslolutely no clue what it is like to have all the food in your garden taken away by the communists after you have gone to all the work of growing it. I have no idea what it is like to hide potatoes in sacks of flour. I have no idea what it is like to watch your father taken away in one of Stalin's purges. I have no idea what it is like to have to walk yes I said walk for several days to find a new home in a new country. The reality is they made food with what they had and this meal is yummy and VERY filling!
Here are a few conversations and memories that were shared today:
"We didn't have cherries--but the Russians came with their wagons and sold cherries to us" They made the cherry ones in the summer when the cherries were available. They also dried some fruits and vegetables when they could because they obviously had no refrigeration.
She said sometimes they had a cow and sometimes they didn't. In the 30's (she was born in 1925) the Russians came and took their cow. Then they could not make cheese, so they couldn't make the Kase Knopf. Then she added, in 1938 they took her father away and put him in prison. In 1944 they walked out of Russia and went to Germany.
She told me that she cooked even when she was 12 years old. At that time she cooked and took food out to the workers in the fields.
These stories make me feel like I should do more to record and capture their lives. Many in our family have attempted to gather the stories, but it never really gets finished. And how do you do it well?
So we have some "snipets" today.
I really wish we could have a professional story writer gather all the facts and write them all down so they would never be lost.
Well, for today...the food will be remembered! =) And now I have my own sweet memory of cooking with Emma again. LOVE it!