My partner, Cheryl has her mother’s and her grandmother’s cookbooks. I always thought that was so neat. You can see the little notes about tweaks in the recipes. It is a great heirloom.
I have not been able to find the same treasures in my family. But, we had beer and baking.
Peter Kersten (my great-grandfather) was a brewer. It is interesting because my younger brother Joe became a home brewer. According to census records, Peter was a brewer from his arrival until his 50’s. According to my Aunt Viv, he was also a home brewer and wine maker. I have an email from her from 2010 in which she states “When I was young, I can remember my daddy (Fred Whitehead) taking me with him to pick up grandpa after his evening shift at Keeley’s.”
After doing a little research I found that Keeley’s Brewery was around both pre and post prohibition. I can safely guess he worked there post prohibition. You can read about them here: http://home.comcast.net/~beerlabel/chic6_files/Page849.htm
I have another document, Peter’s World War I Draft card, it shows his place of employment in 1918 was at McAvoy Brewery. This was likely his employment prior to prohibition. You can read about this brewery here: http://home.comcast.net/~beerlabel/chic5_files/Page545.htm
Viv also recalls Anna Stallaber Kersten being a baker. She wrote “Grandma Kersten was a magnificent baker. Every Saturday she would bake all kinds of coffee cake, etc. and we would go over to get our share. Also on Saturday evening there was a gathering of friends at their house for cards…I think pinochle.” In a more recent email she added, “I can still remember helping to roll the dough….and the wonderful kitchen smells…and eating warm coffee cake.”
I started to think about Pinochle, because I wanted to get the spelling correct for this post. I just learned that German Immigrants (like my great grandparents) brought this game with them to the United States. It is actually a mispronounced French word, “Binochle” but apparently with the German accent it came out as Pinochle and it stuck. You can read more about it here: http://www.playingcardsandmore.com/pinochleanoverview.aspx
Viv goes on to say that they were great grandparents and she spent a lot of time with them. It is making me hungry for coffee cake right now, or maybe a beer. Hmm. I digress. Until later, I will be exploring backwards.
Below is a picture of Peter and Anna. They look both very young, so I am unsure when this was taken.