When I excitedly told my high school friend turned food writer/author/blogger extraordinaire about my new blog, she was thrilled, but cautioned me about the need to blog regularly. I assured her that this would not be a problem. Little did I know how little I knew about the rigors of the blogging world.
I have been consumed (with a capital C) with co-chairing an annual fundraising dinner that benefits the Florida Holocaust Museum. This has been an extremely rewarding experience for me for many reasons, not the least of which has been the connection to my parents who were forced to leave their home in Vienna in 1938 and flee from the Nazis. After a tortuous journey through Germany, Belgium and finally France, they arrived in the United States six months later. The theme of this year’s dinner was To Life… To Heroes…To Courage. It truly was a labor of love to serve the Museum and honor the memory and legacy of my parents, Kurt and Sylvia Leighton who were my heroes.
So I am sure at this point you are wondering, what is the connection here to food and tradition. Well, you may remember that the genesis of this blog came as a result of my desire to compile recipes and stories of family traditions and my mother’s recipe collections started the process. Her memoir (unpublished but cherished) about their escape from the Nazis strongly urged us to tell their story for “remembering is part of survival.”
Preserving family traditions is certainly one way that we can honor the memory of our parents and grandparents and ensure that our children will remember and honor their heritage. It is the glue that binds one generation to the next.
I remember so many of our traditional Viennese dinners, served on warmed plates and beautiful white linen or embroidered table cloths. My father was always dressed to perfection, with a tie or an ascot and my mother looked elegant and graceful. Conversation around the table was always stimulating and revolved around current events. One of the main courses that my mother served regularly was Eingemachtes Kalbfleish (veal stew!). When I was a young girl, the only thing that I liked about this dish was its name. My brother and I loved to utter the word “eingemachtes”, in our best emphatic back-of the-throat German. Unlike its name, Eingemachtes Kalbfleisch is a rather simple dish and one that can easily be made on a weeknight for your family.
EINGEMACHTES KALBFLEISCH (VEAL STEW)
Sprinkle meat with salt, paprika and flour. Melt margarine in heavy pot and brown veal chunks. Add beef stock and simmer for about one hour. Test with a fork to make sure that the meat is tender.
When the meat is done, drain the can of green peas and add to the pot. If necessary, add some water to make more gravy.
Serving suggestion: serve with buttered noodles.