Family foods — and ties — that bind

WORTHINGTON— This is a blog that is long overdue.

A year ago, for the Daily Globe’s annual report section (which again comes out this Saturday with a theme of “Hometown Proud”) I interviewed Sue Bratsch Salzwedel of Okabena. Sue is an enterprising gal, not only a working wife and mom employed by Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, but also making jewelry and offering home staging services in her spare time. I’ve known Sue since high school (she was a year younger), and it was good to catch up on all that’s happened in her life since those high school days.

I’m also acquainted with several of Sue’s siblings (she’s the second child of seven born to Ray and Monica Bratsch, formerly of Worthington, now of North Carolina), and she was nice enough to provide me with the a CD copy of the cookbook that her family compiled for their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, crediting older sister Laura Bratsch Kruse (who now lives in New Jersey) with doing the bulk of the work on it.

The cookbook CD, “Around the Dining Room Table,” somehow got lost in the shuffle of my overflowing desk and resurfaced a while back. I perused it at length, set it aside for future blogging.

Well, the time to share it has finally come, and I have to note that this is much more than a cookbook. The CD contains photos of the Bratsch grandchildren, recollections of memorable meals in the Bratsch household, lists of favorite comfort foods and short essays written by the siblings.

“Cooking good food is an act of love,” writes son John Bratsch in what serves as the CD intro. “Eating well makes people feel good. Bottom line: Mom loved us. We can tell she loved us because she fed us well. Sometimes showing is a whole lot easier than saying.”

The recipes aren’t necessarily credited to specific family members, although the titles sometimes give away their origin and subtitles note when a recipe is a family member’s favorite. We’ll start off with one that obviously came from Sue’s kitchen.

MinnesotaShredded BBQ Pork

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place a 5-pound pork roast or loin in a heavy 6-quart oven-proof roasting pan. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and garlic salt to taste. Combine ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup vinegar and 2 cups water; pour over pork. Cover and bake for 3 hours. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Remove fat and bones and shred meat. Return pork to roaster. Stir in 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon dried mustard, 1 onion, chopped, and 2 cloves garlic, minced. Cover and continue to cook for up to 4 hours, stirring every half hour to break up the meat. Makes 12-18 servings.

“The longer this cooks slowly, the better it is,” says a footnote to the recipe. “Easy to make ahead and put in a Crockpot to warm up for company. Freezes well.

 

The CD cookbook encompasses more than 250 pages (and you can turn them just like you do an actual book), so there are lots of mouthwatering recipes from which to choose. To go along with the pork, I selected an easy refrigerator roll treatment, also from Sue’s kitchen.

Garlic Cheese Buns by Sue

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray pie tin with cooking spray.

Using 1 tube of refrigerated homestyle biscuits, slit biscuits open, fill with shredded cheese of choice and close. Place biscuits in pie tin. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 10 minutes.

 

I promise to share more from “Around the Dining Room Table” in a future blog. For those who might be interested in compiling their own family recipes, the cookbook CD was printed by Morris Press of Kearney, Neb., an enterprise that is responsible for many church and community cookbooks. And if you’re not quite that enterprising, consider sharing your family favorite recipes here. Email me at brickers@dglobe.com; send via regular mail to Lagniappe, Daily Globe, Box 639, Worthington 56187; or check out this blog online at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com.

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