Valentine Family & Friends Cookbook Available in Paperback or Downloadable PDF

A new expanded and redesigned edition of Fry Bacon. Add Onions: The Valentine Family & Friends Cookbook: five generations of good eating is now available from:


Fry Bacon. Add Onions: The Valentine Family & Friends Cookbook
ISBN #978-0-9785940-4-6
180 pages
Book Description: In this combination memoir and family cookbook blogger and novelist Kathleen Valentine combines 30 posts from her blog with nearly 400 recipes collected from family and friends. Growing up in a "mostly Pennsylvania Dutch" family she collected and recorded recipes from grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, cousins, friends, etc. which were combined in the first Valentine Family & Friends Cookbook published in 1981. 

This was expanded in the 1992 edition and now, in this third edition, nearly 400 recipes combine with essays recording memories of growing up in rural Pennsylvania and photographs from six generations. Essays topics include making sauerkraut and soltz (sultz) (a German pickled meat loaf), toasting marshmallows and catching fireflies, the old-country Christmas traditions of making stollen and visits from Belsnickle, old world ghost stories, their grandmother's quilts, and more. Traditional family recipes include schmarn, panhaas, moultasha, a variety of sausage recipes, hassenpfeffer, and liver dumplings, a wide variety of pickles and relishes, as well as keuchels (a type of fried dough), apple dumplings, and rhubarb crisps and pies. 

Contemporary recipes from the younger generations of the Valentine family expand the collection with everything from dips and cocktails to chowders, cakes and cookies. Among the more popular recipes first featured on Valentine's blog are three maple syrup pies, an apricot-apple crisp with maple cream, caramel peachy-pear pandowdy, a honey & white peach pie, and her own Pennsylvania Dutch hot and sour soup. Though this collection is a memoir in food of the Valentine family it could be the story of any first, second and third generation immigrant family. 

From the book: "Most Pennsylvania Dutch families evolved from immigrants who were peasants in "the Old Country". They learned, out of necessity, to use everything they could to feed their families and they devised ways of preserving those things through the long, harsh winters. Pickling, preserving, smoking, canning were necessary to get a large family through the bitterly cold winter months. As I worked on this cookbook I was continually aware of how so much of the food that was part of family tradition was also making good use of commonly available food sources that were abundant and cheap. My Gram Werner used to say that the reason pigs were so valuable was because you could use every part of them except the squeak. In the cold hill country of Pennsylvania maple trees grew in such abundance, that maple syrup was a frequently used sweetener. Cows were kept for milk, cream, butter, cheese and sour cream. When I read these recipes now some seem so rich and loaded with calories but back then people needed those rich, calorie-laden foods to see them through long days in the fields or the factories or lumbering in the forests."

A  PDF version of the book is also avilable for instant download. It is all black and white for ease in printing and consists of 180 pages/6.7MB. Cost is $10. You may order through PayPal with any major credit card:

After completing your order wait to be sent to the download site. If you are not redirected, email inquiry@parlezmoipress.com and the link will be sent to you within 24 hours.

Thank you.


More Goodies

Grandma Valentine raised 8 children, 4 girls and then 4 boys. I don't know when the picture above was taken but it shows Dad with all four of his sisters and his brother Tom. The inset is Uncle Bill who died a few years earlier. His other brother, Uncle Burr, died in World War II. From left to right they are Uncle Tom (Richard Thomas, Aunt Viola, Aunt Helen, Aunt Bonnie, Aunt Tress, Dad. I always thought it was interesting that Grandma's four sons had the same names as Eleanor of Aquitaine's sons --- William, Henry, Richard and John. All she was missing was Geoffrey...

Grandma Valentine’s Applesauce Fruit Cake

By itself this is a delicious, moist cake but it is also the base for the most wonderful fruitcakes. My mother never liked fruitcake until she tasted the fruitcakes that Grandma Valentine made from this recipe. It is best to make them in September and then soak a teatowel in rum and brandy, wrap the cake in it and place in a sealed tin. Check now and then to re-moisten the towel if needed. By Christmas you will have a treasure.

Basic cake:
Combine: ½ cup margarine, 1 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup apple sauce, 1 ½ cup flour, 1/4 tstp salt, 1 tsp each baking soda and cinnamon, ½ tsp ground cloves. Stir well and pour into loaf pan. Bake at 350̊ for an hour.
Fruitcake: Add ½ cup each of raisins, walnuts or pecans, sliced candied cherries, and candied fruit. Add ½ tsp grated orange peel.



More About Bread

My mother was an outstanding breadmaker. She learned from Grandma Valentine (below, right) but there were great breadmakers on both sides of the family. Here are more recipes:

Meisel's Rye Bread
Meisel's rye bread was long considered the very best rye bread in St. Marys. Their store was a little white building on South St. Marys Street. There was a bell that jingles when you came in the door and a whole counter full of the most amazing penny candy. I used Meisel's as the model for Darling's Store in Each Angel Burns. There were two ladies who worked in Meisel's. They wore white aprons over flowered dresses, hairnets and big, clunky black shoes. I used to love to go there for a loaf of bread and some penny candy. When the store closed Miss Rose Ebrel was getting on in years and she gave the recipe for their rye bread to my mother because she said she didn't know who else to give it to. My mother was thrilled until a local ladies guild put out a cookbook and there was the recipe in the book. Apparently Miss Rose gave the recipe to everyone. Here it is:
Melt 1/2 tsp sugar in 1/4 cup warm water. Crumble in 1/2 cale yeast and set aside to work.
Mix together 2 1/2 cups rye four, 7 1/2 cups white flour, 2 1/2 tblsp salt, and 2 1/2 tblsp caraway seeds. Knead in 1 1/2 tblsp lard. Add 1 quart warm water. Knead in the yeast once it has begun to proof (bubble). Knead until the dough comes away from the bowl clean. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to raise.
When the bread is double in size, knead down and divide into four sections. Shape into long loaves and slit across the top three times on the diagonal. Bake at 350° until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Rub tops with shortening.



Getting Pickled

My Dad was interested in photography for quite a few years and he loved to take photos and have them made into slides. After he died I asked if I could have the slides and I have been going through them and scanning some for this blog. I came across the one below right and thought it was perfect for this entry. It was taken out at Uncle Gus’s camp at one of the many, many picnics we had there over the years. That’s Mom when she was probably in her late thirties and that’s a big jar of pickled eggs that she has just placed on the table. She made pickled eggs all the time and I still make them. They are wonderful and a good, protein-rich snack.

Pickled Eggs
Boil a dozen eggs (or more if you have a jar that can hold them). Peel them and pack in a large glass jar. In a saucepan mix:

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 large onion sliced
1 cup of juice from a can of red beets
2-3 cloves (optional)
Simmer until the sugar is melted and the onions are just slightly tender. Pour over the eggs and add the beets if there is room. Store at least 48 hours before serving. You can keep them unrefrigerated for a couple days but refrigerate for longer storage — if they last that long.



Some Soups

Aunt Tressie’s Nibblies
Aunt Tressie (below, right) was Dad’s older sister. She and Uncle John lived in Emporium and we often went to their house to watch parades. This recipe was sent to me by Mary, their daughter. They are little egg dumplings. In The Old mermaid’s Tale Clair talks about making “Spatzel”, this is pretty much the same thing.

With a fork mix together:

1 ½ generous cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 whole eggs
When well blended, drop the dough from a fork into boiling chicken soup. If you like you can add grated carrots to the soup about 10 minutes before the dumplings.


Potatoes, being relatively cheap and quite hearty, are a mainstay of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Here are a collection of assorted potato recipes from the cookbook.

Gram’s Potato Pancakes
In St. Marys a popular summer event is Potato Pancake Dinners. The big one, held at the Sportsmen’s Club every year, includes mountains of potatoes shredded and fried up. Long tables are set up and bowls of stewed tomatoes, creamed corn, and cottage cheese are served along with maple syrup, apple sauce and pickles to accompany the pancakes. Frosty pitchers of Straub’s beer make the rounds. A good time is generally had by all. The picture below right was taken in Bavaria --- have no idea what year --- but the woman on the far right is Maria Eckert who was Gram's grandmother on her mother's side. As a girl she danced with a group of other traditional dancers.
Grate 1 large potato per person to be served. Mix with:

1 egg
½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
Mix well.
Heat oil in a heavy frying pan and when it is very hot drop the mixture in by the spoonful. Flatten out. When crispy on one side, flip and fry until golden.



More Relishes

Ours is a family that loves relishes. There are so many recipes it amazes me. The first one is from Aunt Bonnie (below left). She is Dad’s older sister and was married to Uncle Custy(below right). Uncle Custy, whose real name was Constantine, was Italian and a great mushroom-hunter. He would take us out in the woods and he knew all the mushrooms. We would come back with a bushel basket full of delicious mushrooms. Our favorite was a type that grew in big clumps on long, slender stems with caps that came down over the stem. Mom would wash them and fry them up in butter with garlic and serve them on toast. They were incredible --- so much more flavor than commercial mushrooms! Their daughter Jean has many recipes in the cookbook but we’ll add those later.

Aunt Bonnie’s Chili Sauce
Scald and peel 25 large, red tomatoes. Chop them fine and add:
6 medium chopped onions
3 chopped green peppers
3 cups vinegar
1 ½ cups sugar
1 1/3 tblsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp each ginger, cloves and allspice.
Simmer until very thick. Ladle into sterile jars and process 5 minutes.



Some Salads

Both Mom and Gram made really wonderful salads. Following is a selection of some of their best salads. Probably my very favorite is Dandelion Salad which Gram made abundantly in the Spring. I can remember her sitting out in the yard with a screwdriver and a bucket pulling up dandelions when they were still young and tender. She always liked to get a few with the little buds before they blossomed. Mom said Dandelion Salad was a spring tonic. I’ve actually made it with spinach when dandelions were in short supply. It is also good with tender greens or romaine lettuce.

Gram’s Dandelion Salad
Thoroughly wash a large bowl full of dandelion greens (or other greens). Keep the buttons (buds). Drain well. Boil 2 medium potatoes and hardcook 2 eggs.

Slice a large sweet onion and separate the rings. Cool the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Peel and slice the eggs. Toss them with the greens. Add 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt.

Over medium heat fry 3-4 slices of bacon cut into small pieces. When bacon is crisp remove it to a paper towel then add to the salad. Pour off all but 2 tbsps bacon grease. Place the pan with the grease back on the burner and turn up heat. When it is sizzling carefully add ½ cup cider vinegar and let it sizzle and sputter. Pour hot from the pan over the greens. Toss again and serve.



Gram's Soltz (Sultz) and Liver Dumplings

Both Gram and Great Aunt Mary (at left in 1976) made these and they were wonderful, old-world treats. I don't make them anymore but sometimes I think about it. I'd hate for these recipes to be lost.

Soltz (Sultz)
When Gram made this it was always something of an event. Her brother George would come by and bring hot rye bread from Meisel's Bakery. We would sit on her front porch on the big swing and the glider and eat the soltz with rye bread, mustard, sliced onions and cold beer. It is a sort of pickled meat that is really delicious. Those old German's used up everything so soltz was a way of using up the meat scraps left on bones. Later people added extra meat --- Jim Auman (who is married to Aunt Mary's daughter Snooky) added chopped up turkey to his. Gram used to say that the only part of a pig you couldn't use was the squeek.

Place 5-6 lbs. of meaty bones in a large kettle, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer 2-3 hours until the meat is falling off the bones. Remove meat and strain the broth well. Measure it and add an equal amount of cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste (best if you use a fair amount of pepper). Let the meat cool a bit and remove it from the bones discarding all the fine bones and gristle. Grind the meat and add extra if you like. Add an onion. Place it back in the broth. Simmer for 5 minutes in the vinegar broth until the onion is cooked.

Ladle into loaf pans. In some Pennsylvania Dutch communities they make an arrangement of carrots and pickles to look like flowers in the bottoms of the pans "chust for nice", as they say. Cool the soltz and it will gel. Refrigerate until very cold then slice and serve with mustard and rye bread. Have a beer.
Parlez-Moi Blog Post about Soltz


Pickles & Relishes

Since it’s that time of the year, when people are starting to can, I thought it would be a good time to add a few of our family’s favorite pickles and relishes.

Grandma Valentine’s Sandwich Spread
Grandma Valentine (at right with Grandpa and Dad's two oldest sisters, Aunt Viola and Aunt Bonnie) lived in a big house on Chestnut Street. It had a porch that wrapped around it with a porch swing. There were several apple trees, a beautiful crab apple tree, orange blossom bushes and a hedge of currant bushes along the back alley. I remember crawling under those currant bushes on summer afternoons and eating the currants still hot and juicy from the sun. Grandma had a huge vegetable garden and there were hollyhocks and peony bushes along the side of the house. Inside there was a pantry and she hung dried herbs in bunches inside the stairwell. I still remember opening the door to the stairs and the fragrance of herbs coming out. She had a canary that sat in the sunshine and sang all day. Her house was a good place in which to be a child.

Combine and let stand overnight:
2 qts. Ground green tomatoes
1 pt. ground onions
2 each of red, yellow and green peppers, ground
½ cup salt

Next day drain the excess liquid and place in a heavy pot. Add:
1 pt. white vinegar
2 ½ cups sugar

Bring to a boil and let simmer 20 minutes making sure it doesn’t burn. Chill thoroughly then add 9 oz yellow mustard and 1 pint salad dressing. Stir well and seal in jars.




In The Old Mermaid’s Tale, Clair and Baptiste often have dinner at a restaurant behind the Customs House where he works, at a little restaurant called the Hofbrau House. They order pork with sauerkraut and dumplings and a lovely, crisp, white wine. Sauerkraut is a treasured part of my life.

I have often thought that if our family had a coat of arms, it would have a barrel of sauerkraut on it. Some of the best times I can remember growing up was when we made huge barrels of homemade sauerkraut at the end of the summer when the cabbages were huge and fresh from the garden.

(Above: The John Werner Family, 1915, seated, John Werner and Anna Groll Werner, my great-grandparents,
back row: Alfred G. Werner, my mother's father, Jane, Edward, Rose, and Leo Werner

Dad would bring the cabbage up from the garden and hang it upside down from rafters in the shop until we were ready to have a sauerkraut making day. He and I would clean them, saving the tough outer leaves, and cut them into wedges. There was a huge crock that had been in the family for generations. Mom would scrub it out and line it with those outer leaves. There was an enormous shredder that had also been around for a couple generations that we used. It was made of wood with a metal blade set into it and the cabbage would be swiped back and forth along the wooden slide over the blade to shred it. We all helped with that. Sometimes a relative would stop in and take a turn at the shredding just for nostalgia’s sake.

The shredded cabbage was layered into the crock with occasional layers of coarse salt to help it work. There was a big stone that fit on the top of the crock to weight it down but Dad had an improvement on that. He would take a heavy-duty garbage bag, fill it with water and tightly close it and put that on top of the shredded cabbage. This added the weight to press down on the cabbage while sealing off the air at the same time. The crock was then stored in the dark under the basement steps for several weeks until the cabbage fermented into kraut.

When it was fermented and “sauer”, Mom packed the sauerkraut into sterile quart jars and processed them in a boiling water bath. We made a fifty gallon crock full but no matter how much we made it was always gone by the following summer.

We always had sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. It was a tradition and even the rare person who didn’t like sauerkraut was urged to eat at least one bite of it for good luck. Personally, I have always loved sauerkraut raw, straight from the jar. I use it as a relish in sandwiches and as the base for salads.