"Old Country" Food & Cooking

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Senior Cook
Oct 23, 2004
I'm not sure what to call this topic... "nostalgia"? or "return to the 'old country" style of cooking? Anyway... to explain.

As background, my grandparents came here in the very early 1900's from Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein (was either Danish or German, depending upon whether Germany wanted it again). So the ethnic background in foods was mostly Danish, but with German influence.

I remember sitting at the dinner table watching my grandfather take a baked potato; hold it in his hand; cut the end off; scrape some butter from his plate with a spoon; scoop out a bite-size spoonful of potato and eat it. He ALWAYS held his baked potato in his hand and ate it that way. He told me once that in school, his mother baked potatoes every morning and he would carry 2 of them as handwarmers as he walked 5 miles in the ice/snow to school...then he ate them for lunch. I don't remember a meal without potatoes but I was very young and my memory might have faded :)

We often times had soup made from greens: Kale, Mustard Greens, or Split Pea.. and we always had boiled meat (beef, pork, ham) on a separate plate on the side. Never in the soup. She had an old "crank" grinder that screwed to a table and she ran the greens through it (I use the Kitchenaid meatgrinder attachment which works fine). I also buy chuck roast and grind my own hamburger.. another topic too.

We had a Great Dane dog that sat on the floor beside my grandfather and rested his head on the table under grandfather's arm.. and would be fed pieces of the meat. They are the greatest dog for kids I know... but another story, another time.

I'm not sure if it's Danish or German or English, but we often had soft-boiled eggs in little egg cups for breakfast... my grandfather would take a knife and "whack" the top off the eggs... for mine, someone always removed the top for me because I wasn't too coordinated with a knife and I'm not sure they trusted me with sharp objects anyway. We ate this with little "demitasse spoons" or "baby spoons", scooping out the soft eggs, often times topping them with butter. And we each had little individual salt & pepper shakers to season our eggs in between each bite.

I use the Krups egg topper to top my softboiled eggs...but I'm looking for one of the "chicken toppers" with scissors handles, to add to my collection. eBay has them on and off. But my Krups thing works great.

I'm not sure where this post is going :) It's too long now.. so I'll close it.. But that's what I'm playing with on and off now. Anyone else have any experience/memories/ideas in this area??? .. I was gonna get into comfort foods but I'll save that for another time.
lutzzz said:
I'm not sure if it's Danish or German or English, but we often had soft-boiled eggs in little egg cups for breakfast... my grandfather would take a knife and "whack" the top off the eggs...

It's English :)
lutzzz said:
I'm not sure what to call this topic... "nostalgia"? or "return to the 'old country" style of cooking? Anyway... to explain.

I would say Norwegian, lutzzz because that is how my immigrant parents from Norway ate eggs always. However, Norway for a long time was under Danish rule, so it probably rubbed off. We have cute, rosemalled egg cups and I even have egg hats knitted like the expensive Norwegian sweaters to keep them. Fried and scrambled eggs is a US thing. My first trip to Norway they always had boiled eggs, but the last trip they discovered fried eggs but not the turning over part, they like them runny. My mother used to boil eggs for my dad for about 30 seconds and he would poke a hole in the end and suck out the inside. I gagged with this one. I did not come to the breakfast table after the first time until his egg shell was empty or if we had waffles. To this day, the white of the egg has to be absolutely solid, if it wiggles it goes back to the kitchen, the yoke I am not so fussy about. I still have my grandmothers meat grinder that you described that you vice grip to the table.
Soft boiled eggs served in egg cups seem to be growing in popularity... a couple years ago on eBay there were 100-150 listings... now there are over 700.. albeit eBay has grown but not that much. And those "chicken" egg scissors by Wusthof appeared once or twice a month and now there are about 8 listings...

You CAN soft boil eggs so the white is firm, but it takes good timing. I use an electric egg cooker, also by Krups, with a measuring cup for the water. If I use the same size eggs each time, they come out fairly consistent for how soft they are.

The cooker works for hard boiled eggs too but I usually hard boil in my rice cooker.. put in a dozen Jumbo eggs, 3/4 cup water.. about 22 minutes later run cold water over them.. pretty idiot proof. I use Grade A eggs rather than AA 'cause they are older and I can peel them.. it takes an act of Congress to peel fresher eggs :)

I haven't tried the Kale soup yet.. I can't find a recipe that seems to be like grandma's... I suspect she boiled the meats first and used the broth with the ground greens. What else was added I dont' know! I'll have to do more hunting.
it's also an irish thing. my dad used to love soft boiled eggs, and "greens" soups and boiled meats are very irish.

thanks for the meanderings lutzzz. it's nice to read about other members' fond food memories..
Well, I think it's a Hungarian thing :mrgreen:

I remember this special cereal bowl - it had one place in front for the cereal and two places in back to hold two soft-boiled eggs - I still have it - gosh, it's an antique now???? :oops:

There's true comfort in soft-boiled eggs. I like a 2 1/2 minute soft-boiled egg - 3 minutes gets the yolk too firm for me.

I remember my grandmother making Paprikas - it was the best. Aside from how good it was I remember how my grandmother would smile the whole time she made it (my father's mother) because she knew it totally ticked my mother off that she was there cooking - and she'd speak nothing but Hungarian - I swear - my mother's face would get so red and she'd stomp around the house muttering under her breath! Ahhhhh, the good ol' days!! LOL

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