I grew up during the 50's and 60's in Mobridge, South Dakota. Dad's family, (Hardcastle) was English and Scotch, and we had Engish family favorite dishes, which were Pasty, and Chicken and Noodles. The predominate ethnic group of the area was German- Russian, and we came to love their cuisine as well. The German Kuchens are an area favorite, and are wonderful. They have a yeast crust and a fruit and custard topping. My favorite desserts have always been custards. In fact, my Mother said I was such a picky eater as a baby that she took me to the doctor, afraid that I was mal-nourished, and told him that the only thing she could get me to eat was custard. This was in the late 1940's, and the doc wasn't worried. He told her to continue offering me custard and that I would expand my diet in time. Of course, that is exactly what happened. I have lived in the Pacific N.W. for the past 42 years, and have learned to love Pacific Rim cuisine, and all things organic. We buy local produce
My favorite things to cook
I have some family members who are vegetarian, so I always look for good, hearty vegetarian/vegan recipies, to add to the Pacific NW cuisine of our area. I also use some of the old cook books from Mobridge, South Dakota, which contain the German recipies that I love, and still glean recipies from my 82 year old Mum, who lives in Mobridge, and cooks multi-course English style dinners for my 92 year old Dad.
Living in the Seattle area, our family has incorporated some wonderful Asian dishes into our cook-books, We love Lumpia Rolls, Fresh Spring Rolls, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and some of the Panang Currie dishes. My husband and children also frequently request a German specialty called Berach Kraut Pachindas. It consists of a meat filling with sauer-kraut, and onions, placed in a wonderful yeast dough, sealed turn-over style, and baked in the oven. It smells divine as it bakes, and my family loves it.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The Hardcastle family celebrates with Pasty, an English meat pie, and chicken with home-made noodles, which we make a bit thicker than most others. We love them that way. My husband Jim Brockamp, is an excellent cook too. He grew up on a farm in Timber Lake, SD, and excels at making Swiss Steak, Roast Beef and potatoes and gravy, and fine breakfasts. It's fun when the men in the family enjoy grilling and cooking, and Jim and our son, Jamie are enthusiastic in the kitchen.
I am building some new traditions now, finding tasty vegetarian side dishes to add to menues.
My cooking triumphs
Our 4-H Group loved a fruit tray with chocolate fountain that I brought to a pot luck, and I have found it is a children's favorite for all occasions. They surround the chocolate fountain and gleefully dip strawberries, apples, bananas, granola bars and marshmellos into the cascading chocolate.
My cooking tragedies
Making Navy Bean Soup for my parents in Mobridge, SD last summer, I made the mistake of using a quick cooking method, developed when I was working. I substituted canned navy beans for the traditional dry ones, which are soaked over night, and omitted the ham. What was I thinking? My Dad likes his bean soup slow cooked with a ham bone and bits of ham and onion, instead of the celery and onion I used. My 92 year old father would have none of this. He felt the beans were not cooked enough, and lectured me at length about the cooking of the beans, much to the delight of some of my siblings. The next day I received a type-written letter in the mail, supposedly from a famous domestic diva, known for cooking expertise. The letter said simply. "Cook the beans, You Big Boob." Being the children of an English father, all my siblings, myself included, have bristled, at times, when called a Big Boob for bufoonery. Everyone was amused by the letter and no-one admitted to sending it.