Some of my happiest memories as a child involve holidays spent with family and wonderful foods.

Although my parents, Katherine and Tobias R., met in New Jersey, they were both German immigrants. Some of their siblings also came to America and settled nearby…so our Christmas gatherings were large, with all the aunts, uncles and cousins. What feasts we had!

To me, the ultimate Yuletide menu included Roast Christmas Goose, greens with Mixed Herb Salad Dressing, Creamed Fresh Spinach and Apple Plum Streusel Dessert.

I’ll never forget the wonderful aroma of my mother’s Roast Christmas Goose, stuffed with apple, orange and lemon. She served this dish with her soothing Creamed Fresh Spinach and greens with Mixed Herb Salad Dressing.

The festive meal, which also included mashed potatoes and homemade rolls, would end with yummy Apple Plum Streusel Dessert, a coffee-cake-like pastry drizzled with icing. Usually, we served it with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cookie Sampling

Before the big day, Mom and my aunts would make several kinds of cookies. My younger sister, Roberta, and I would sneak into the cookie tins stored in the cool attic, hoping no one would notice a few cookies missing.

We loved watching our mother in the kitchen and learned how to cook from her. When I was born, Mom had already been cooking and baking for years.

Growing up, she was a second mother to eight younger brothers and sisters and often helped her mother make delicious dishes from simple ingredients. Mom came to America in 1927 at the age of 18 and worked as a live-in practical nurse for a New Jersey family. She often spent time in the kitchen, where the cook taught her how to make an all-American fruit pie.

She always fixed wonderful meals for our family. We were fortunate in usually having meat on the table, since my father was a butcher.

He worked different shifts, but Mom knew how to fix foods that could be reheated for him. She also made him hearty breakfasts and packed his lunches. Dad had a sweet tooth, so he always wanted a piece of cake or pie.

German Favorites

I inherited my love of cooking from my mom and aunts. I especially enjoy making meat dishes, casseroles, soups, breads and pies…and sharing them with Taste of Home readers. I’ve been a field editor since 1992.

I still prepare many of Mom’s recipes, mostly in winter, since German foods are rich and hearty. Family favorites include goulash, sauerbraten and Wiener schnitzel. At Christmas, Mom’s roast goose is often on the menu.

Now that I work only part-time (I’m a pharmacist), I have more time to cook…and travel. My husband, John, is retired, so we visit our four children and six grandchildren frequently.

Although it’s difficult to get us all together, when we are, good food helps make it a happy and memorable occasion. Have the best of holidays!


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