Chad always asks us what we want to do to demonstrate 18th century living skills and invariably, my mind turns to cooking. Slowly but surely, I’ve been collecting the right period pieces to make  on the hearth nearly any thing people ate back then. Since I have to eat, I may as well make things that are good as well as something that reflects the ethnic identity of the area. It seems as though, I dip more into German cooking than anything else which, fortunately, is appropriate as many families did come from the Palatine area. thinking ahead, I was tryingto plan a bill of faire that wouldn’t be a ton of work on a hot day but tasty and pleasant. I was planning on a salmagundy, roasting the hen in a tin roaster but then I ran into a recipe for Wurstsalat from the Alsace region. God knows how much I love sausages so its going to be a sausage salad that i will make in September. The recipe below is from a Facebook site called “I Love Germany”.  I’m going to go to Fresh Market and see if the traditional sausages are available. If not, I think I will use Summer Sausage.



German, ( literally sausage salad) is a tart sausage salad prepared with distilled white vinegar, oil and onions. It is normally made from a sort of boiled sausage like Lyoner, stadtwurst, regensburger (two types of cooked sausage) or extrawurst. It is a traditional snack in southern Germany, Alsace, Switzerland and Austria.

To prepare the dish, the sausage is cut into thin slices or strips and placed, along with raw onion rings or cubes, in a vinegar and oil marinade, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Common additional ingredients are finely cut gherkins, radishes, parsley or chives. Wurstsalat is normally served with bread and sometimes also with fried potatoes. (I don’t know about the fried pottoes but some boiled new potatoes, diced would be great)

Popular variants are the Schwäbischer Wurstsalat (Swabian wurstsalat), which is half composed of blood sausage, and especially the Schweizer Wurstsalat (Swiss wurstsalat), also called Straßburger Wurstsalat (Strasburg wurstsalat) or Elsässer Wurstsalat (Alsacian wurstsalat), and containing Emmental cheese.

I am also going to add yellow peppers for sweetness , Emmenthaler cheese and use sweet red onions , cut fine and fresh corn .My secret ingredient will be white wine vinegar and Styrian pumpkin seed oil. that stuff is so good, it’s almost a sin. Serve it up on artisinal lettuce and garnish with hard boioled eggs, OH MY!!!

I’m going to make rye bread too as the heart will make the dough rise easily. I’ve made it at home many times and it’s really wonderful. ( I got this recipe from   a while back and each time I use the variations, adding spelt and seeds)


1 large loaf


Dough Starter

  • Bread flour — 3/4 cup
  • Rye flour — 3/4 cup
  • Honey or malt syrup — 3 tablespoons
  • Water, lukewarm — 1 1/2 cups
  • Instant yeast — 1/2 teaspoon

Flour mixture

  • Bread flour — 2 1/2 cups
  • Caraway seeds — 2 tablespoons
  • Salt — 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Instant yeast — 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil — 1 tablespoon
  • Cornmeal — for the baking tray


  1. Add the ingredients for the starter to a large bowl and mix together until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. While the starter is resting, mix together the remaining ingredients except for the oil and cornmeal. Pour the flour mixture over the starter. Do not stir. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set aside for at least two hours and up to five hours. The starter will bubble up through the flour mixture.
  3. Add the oil to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir the flour mixture into the starter. As the mixture comes together, remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. The dough might be a little sticky. Knead in just enough extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  4. Set the dough aside to rest for about 10 minutes, then knead for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Set the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and lightly oil the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set in a draft-free area of the kitchen to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Punch down the dough and lightly knead it 3 or 4 times. Form into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and let rise for another 45 minutes or so.(I like to let it rise overnight.)
  6. Preheat oven to 450°F and set the shelf at the lowest level. Put a small metal pan in the oven (you will use this later). Lightly press down on the dough and form it into a ball. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto a baking sheet and set the dough onto the baking sheet. Lightly oil the top of the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for another hour.
  7. Use a sharp knife or razor blade to slash the top of the dough in 3 parallel lines about 1/4-inch thick. Then slash with another set of 3 lines perpendicular to the first set. Use a spray bottle to mist the dough with water.
  8. Set the baking sheet in the oven and pour about 1 cup of water into the small pan to create steam. Shut the door immediately and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes. (An insta-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf should register 190°F.) When you bake it in a bastible, just add a tiny bit of water to the bottom of the pot. The cast iron creates it’s own steam and keeps it in.
  9. Set the loaf on a cooling rack and let cool completely.


  • For even better flavor, let the starter ferment for an hour a room temperature. Then set it in the refrigerator to ferment slowly for another 8 to 24 hours. Return it to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. (I’ll make the starter a day ahead and bring it with me.
  • Vary the proportion of rye flour and bread flour to your liking. Or eliminate the rye flour altogether and use all bread flour. You can also make a whole wheat loaf by replacing about 1/2 of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. You will need to add a little more water if you do. I acrually like more rye flour rather than less
  • Mix 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, flaxseeds, cracked wheat, rye or spelt into the flour mixture for added texture. THIS IS A MUST!!!!
  • For a darker crust, brush the dough with some buttermilk, yogurt or dark coffee just before baking.
  • I use a bastible and bake it in that. It allows for a wonderful crust yet delicious interior texture.

Noodles and Broth served up!

Noodles and Broth served up!

This is something I really shouldn’t admit as a person raised in a rich Italian American tradition but my favorite food is German. When we have events, I love to do cooking demos and can make German recipes all day long because many of the early settlers to the region were Palatine German. For the May Seige, I wanted to make something hardy, few pots and yet something that would make a good show. I count as a friend a chef in Californina whose name is Stephen Block and he has a very fine website called GERMAN GOODIES RECIPES. He has also compiled an excellent book of his mother’s recipes which I have and has another site tracing the history of foods. His links are below.

I was skimming his recipes as I usually do and found one that was his mother’s favorite called GEFULTE NOODLES. At first I thought of gefilte fish and thought that was a non starter , but then I read on and oh boy, it fit the bill.

I made the beef broth at home using vegetables, bones and a nice roast which we had for dinner, but the rest I did at the fort. the result was SPECTACULAR so this is going be a staple and I’ve made it at home too . His recipe makes an enormous amount but can be halved and it works out just fine, just as Stephen said it would.

Gefulte Noodles

This is a hearty cold-weather dish, consisting of large squares or triangles of noodle dough, filled with a meat and parsley mixture, folded over and sealed, then boiled in beef broth.

1 or 2 bunches fresh parsley, washed, drained, and heavy stems removed. (Should have about 2 qts.)
1 large or 2 small onions
Chop parsley and onions (or put through a grinder or
food-processor.) Put into a large skillet with
2 Tbs. Oil
Simmer until heated through, stirring frequently. Remove into
a large bowl.
2 slices bread; put to soak in about ½ cup milk.
1 lb. lean ground beef ; Brown lightly in skillet.
Add to the green mixture in bowl; squeeze the milk out of the soaked bread, crumble bread up and add to the mixture. (May add a little salt.)
1 egg Break into mixture and mix all together. If filling seems too soft, add a few bread crumbs.

5 eggs, plus ½ shell of water for each egg used.
Beat lightly with a fork.
1 tsp. Salt (Optional)
Flour Add, a little at a time, enough to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn out onto well-floured board. Knead, working more flour into dough, until it is smooth and elastic. (May use Kitchen-Aid mixer for this.) Allow dough to “rest” for 10-15 minutes, while preparing broth.
Fill a large pot—or two of them—about 2/3 full of water; bring to a boil. Add enough bouillon cubes or other beef base to make a good broth. Keep simmering while getting noodles filled.

Keeping board well floured, cut off, with metal spatula, a piece about the size of a large potato. Roll with floured rolling pin until about 1/8 in. thick. Cut into squares or rectangles about 3” or 4” on each side. Put a spoonful (about 1 TB) of filling in center of each; fold over and seal well. Drop a few at a time into boiling broth. Repeat until dough is used up. If there is extra filling, put it into the broth. Simmer at least an hour. (Two hours will be even better. If some of the noodles break up and spill their filling into the broth, it’s okay. These noodles are not things of beauty, but they are delicious!)
Grandma Block used to lift out a few nice filled noodles, dry them a bit, and then keep them in the refrigerator to fry in butter for the next day’s breakfast!

FOR SMALLER BATCH: Use 2 jumbo eggs + 2 half-shells of water. Add 1 ½ to 2 Cups flour; this will make about 12 noodles. Cut filling recipe and broth about in half.

Making the noodles. They were perfect. I bet I could add sugar and fry those babies too!

Making the noodles. They were perfect. I bet I could add sugar and fry those babies too!

half the recipe made 13, plus the left over stuffing I put in the pot.

half the recipe made 13, plus the left over stuffing I put in the pot.

Simmering nicely over the fire.

Simmering nicely over the fire.

I had left over so I dried them and fried them up for breakfast on Sunday. Oh yeah, with a nice fresh egg!

Next weekend, the Hillybilly Hilton will be decorated as the Palatine Germans would have decorated back in the auld Countrie. The reason why I say that is because from every thing I’m reading, especially journals kept  by Phillip Fithian, celebrating Christmas and the days after was ignored in this neck of the woods until the 19th century  as the  Scots – Irish looked at Christmas  as a Popish event. The following is from Fithian’s journal, December 25, 1775 .In it, he talks about the people in South West Virginia 

Christmas Morning–Not A Gun is heard–Not a Shout–No company or Cabal assembled–To Day is like other Days every Way calm & temperate– People go about their daily Business with the same Readiness, & apply themselves to it with the same Industry.

That being said, the Germans settling in this area did celebrate the Christmas season. A lot of it was in the special foods. We know all about Moravian breads and cooking. Today I made anise cookies decorated with royal icing and stollen with homemade marzipan (recipe listed in the archives) and it turned out really good. It’s not as hard as one may think, just took a lot of time mostly waiting for the dough to rise.

I used the recipe from Food Network which turns out exactly. I liked the write up for it which I’m including for you.

Long before the Romans occupied parts of Germany, special breads were prepared for the winter solstice that were rich in dried or preserved fruit. Historians have traced Christollen, Christ’s stollen back to about the year 1400 in Dresden, Germany. The first stollen consisted of only flour, oats, and water, as required by church doctrine, but without butter and milk, it was quite tasteless. Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht requested of the Pope that the ban on butter and milk during the Advent season be lifted. His Eminence replied in what is known as the famous “butter letter”, that milk and butter could be used to be bake stollen with a clear conscience and God’s blessing for a small fee. Originally stollen was called Striezel or Struzel, which referred to a braided shape-a large oval folded in half with tapered ends-is said to represent the Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothing. Around 1560, it became custom that the bakers of Dresden give their king, the ruler of Saxony, two 36-pound stollens as a Christmas gift. It took eight master bakers and eight journeymen to carry the bread to the palace safely. This custom was continued for almost two hundred years. In 1730, Augustus the Strong, the electoral prince of Saxony and the King of Poland, asked the Baker’s Guild of Dresden to bake a giant stollen for the farewell dinner of the Zeithain “campement.” The 1.8-ton stollen was a true showpiece and fed over 24,000 guests. To commemorate this event, a Stollenfest is held each December in Dresden. The bread for the present-day Stollenfest weighs 2 tons and measures approximately 4 yards long. Each year, the stollen is paraded through the market square, then sliced and sold to the public, with the proceeds supporting local charities. Although there is a basic recipe for making the original Dresden Christollen, each master baker, each village and each home has its own secret recipe passed down from one generation to the next. There are probably as many recipes for stollen as there are home bakers. The commercial production of Dresden stollen is carefully licensed and regulated to ensure quality and authenticity. Authentic German stollen is usually sprinkled heavily with confectioners’ sugar prior to serving.


For the Fruit:

  • 1 cup mixed candied fruit
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum or orange  juice

For the Sponge:

  • 1 scant tablespoon or 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

For the Dough:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground  mace
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 3 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Oil, for coating bowl

For the Filling: (if not using marzipan)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Heated butter


Prepare Fruit: Combine the mixed fruit, raisins, and rum. Cover and set aside. Shake or stir the mixture every so often to coat the fruit with the rum.

Prepare Sponge: In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in the water to soften. Heat the milk to 110 degrees F and add it to the yeast along with the honey and 1 cup flour. Cover the sponge with Saran and let rise until light and full of bubbles, about 30 minutes.

By Hand: Add the fruit mixture, honey, egg, butter, zest , salt, mace, almonds, and 2 cups of the flour to the sponge. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

By mixer : In the mixer bowl, add the fruit mixture, honey, egg, butter, zest, salt, mace, almonds, and 2 cups of the flour to the sponge. Using the paddle, beat the mixture on medium low speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Change to the dough hook. Continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just begins to clean the bowl.  Knead  4 to 5 minutes on medium-low.

First rise: Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shape and Fill: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. For 1 large loaf, roll the dough into a 9 by 13-inch oval. For 2 loaves, divided the dough in half and roll each half into a 7 by 9-inch oval. Brush the melted butter over the top of the oval(s). Combine the cinnamon  and granulated sugar and sprinkle over one lengthwise half of the oval(s). Fold the dough in half lengthwise and carefully lift the bread(s) onto a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet. Press lightly on the folded side to help the loaf keep its shape during rising and baking.

Second rise: Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven: About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake and cool: Bake for 25 minutes until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190 degrees F. Immediately remove from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.

To serve: Sprinkle heavily with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Variation: Between 2 pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap, roll 3 ounces almond paste or marzipan into the lengthwise shape of half the oval. Omit the butter and cinnamon-sugar filling. Place the marzipan on half of the oval and fold the dough in half. Let rise and bake as directed.

Notes: This bread freezes nicely for up to 6 months. If freezing it, do not sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. To serve, first thaw the bread, then bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

The only change I made is that I greatly increased the rising times. This dough is really heavy with the nuts and fruits  not a lot of glutens and it takes time to rise.