My friend, Elizabeth, sent me this delightful story about her mother and her aunt. I wanted to share this with you along with the scrumptious recipe for Kugel.
I identify with Elizabeth’s mother having married into an Italian-American family as an outsider. And, I did the same thing as her. I cooked my way into my Father-in-law’s heart.
This is Elizabeth’s story in her own words:
We’ve all heard that the way to someone’s heart is through the stomach. Well, that certainly held true for my mother, Elizabeth. My paternal grandparents were Italian immigrants and weren’t too happy when my father told them he wanted to marry the German/Czechoslovakian girl he’d been dating. So after my parents married in June of 1940, my mother decided the best way to get into her new mother-in-law’s good graces was with food – Italian food, and lots of it! She enlisted the help of my Aunt Mary, who secretly shared my grandmother’s recipes with her, and proceeded to master every one of them: tomato sauce (we never called it gravy), meatballs, manicotti, eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, veal marsala, stuffed breast of veal, pasta fajioli, lasagna, sausage and peppers, escarole and beans, stuffed calamari, ricotta cheese pie, ricotta cheese cookies, and Easter bread. I could go on, but you get the picture. The strategy was a huge success. Eventually, in her broken English, my grandmother told my mother she was a better cook than some of her own daughters. A loving relationship between them was formed and lasted until my grandmother’s passing at age 96.
Needless to say, my siblings and I grew up on plenty of delicious Italian food. I loved it all. But it was always a treat when my mother would prepare one of her family’s Eastern European dishes like stuffed cabbage, egg noodles and cabbage, sauerkraut with onions and caraway seeds, and perogies. And my all-time favorite of these recipes from my mother’s heritage was kugel. I am happy and most proud to share it with you here.
- 1 lb of egg noodles – medium width
- 8 eggs
- 16 ounces of cottage cheese
- 16 ounces of sour cream
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease 9 x 13 inch baking dish with butter
- Melt butter
- whisk eggs together in a large bowl
- Add sugar and mix well
- Stir in melted butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, vanilla. cinnamon, and salt
- Cook noodles according to package directions
- Drain and mix into egg & cheese mixture
- Transfer to prepared baking dish and smooth the top
- Bake uncovered for 60 to 70 minutes until eggs have set and top is brown.
- Let cool for 15 minutes, then serve
Special Note: Later in life my mother added a can of crushed pineapple to the mixture before baking. This can be served as a side dish or warm dessert.
I hope you have enjoyed meeting Elizabeth Anne and Mary as much as I have.
Talk soon, ❤️💕 Bernadette