Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mush

So over Memorial Day I went to pay homage to ancestors at various cemetaries. One stop was to the grave of Ulrich Stauffer, my great great grandfather. He was a polygamist, and his wives are all buried around his grave. I'm descended from his wife Verena, through his son Henry Alfred.

Ulrich liked to eat a particular kind of cracked wheat cereal. I believe it has to do with his Swiss heritage. In our family, we like to tell a story that he actually invented this mush, but that's not really likely. Still, we call it Stauffer Mush, and we eat it particularly at family reunions, to affirm our heritage. The traditional preparation is that it should be made rather stiff, enough that it can "stand alone" on a plate, and it is served with sugar and half-n-half. It's not bad.

While I was at the cemetary I bumped into a second cousin that I didn't know from Adam. But he was there poking around Ulrich's grave, so I figured we were related. He's also through Henry Alfred's line, but through my Grandpa's brother, whom we had always heard called "Uncle Ree." Turns out the man's name was Henry. So I asked him if his family ever had Stauffer Mush. He replied that he remembered Henry used to make it and it was delicious, but when his mother made the same mush it was terrible. We tried to figure out why and decided maybe she didn't put salt in it while it boiled. Also, he says his mother was always stingy on the sugar, and only used skim milk. Thus died the Stauffer Mush tradition in his family.

Hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day.

6 comments:

Sherm said...

Our pioneer food heritage includes 1. hard pudding (essentially dough boiled with a ham bone) served with butter and sugar and 2. lumpy dick (essentially flour mush. I particularly like hard pudding but you have to grow up with it to even think it edible.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Very interesting! I think you should bring it for a snack. In fact, I think you should bring one of your recipes each time you do snack. That would be very cool!

Jana said...

Lots of things can be made delicious with heavy cream and sugar! :)

Brock said...

As a post-script... I was at a funeral today, and talking to my uncle. He said he avoided going to visit my great grandmother too early in the morning. He said she often made Mormon mush, and if he visited too early in the morning he would have to eat it. He said her recipe was that she would go out to feed the chickens, and then gather a pan full of chicken scratch. She would winnow the chicken scratch in the wind a couple of times, and then take it in the house, boil it up and serve it with milk. I'm not sure how much I can take him seriously...

The American Homemaker said...

Just wanted to say hi... I love old fashioned recipes and I'm doing a pioneer themed posting each day in July on my blog until the 24th :)

Annette Bethke said...

Hi Brock. Long time. Love your blog and can't wait for the book. Glad to see you're still in history world.

Annette (ALHFAM)