Dear Sun Spots: Thank you for the help with the butternuts. I would like to help the lady that is looking for the directions to make Rue, but she called it Ragu. In German, we call it Mehlschwitze. My mother used to make it, not just for gravy but also to thicken the soup we ate almost every day of the week. Except for Sunday when we had salt potatoes, peeled and cooked in salt water, vegetables and some meat when the ration provided it. For the Rue, your reader can do the following:

Place some butter or margarine into a fry pan. Let it melt. Add flour to it to make a paste. One can let it brown some more, then either add water, broth or the soup water to it. Stir to make a gravy and add it back to the soup or vegetables.

We never wasted the water that the vegetables were cooked in for the vitamins were in the water, my mother told me. My grandmother in Thuringen, Germany, used bacon. The German bacon is not like the American. It is well-smoked and she had the whole side hanging in the attic, wrapped in brown paper and a towel that was sewn like a bag. This was to keep the dirty bugs off it. My grandfather would go up and bring it down. My grandmother cut off a thick slice but not the rind. It was left on the rest of the ham and then wrapped up again and hung up in the attic. This slice was then cut into cubes and put in the frying pan. Then, flour was added but the cubes were left in, so she made wonderful gravy and thicker soups. My grandparents had no electricity in the house but that was 1943 to 1948. But they may have some now that the Wall is gone and Germany is now a free country. – Heidi Weber, Dryden.


Answer: Thank you for sharing so much with column readers, Heidi. It was wonderful to hear your recollections. Sun Spots also recalls Irish bacon from her childhood, and it too was also nothing like American. The ham leg was boiled and the meat just fell off the bone like a good stewing beef, and rashers (sliced bacon) were filled with meat and not fat. From reading some of the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories with my daughter, I believe ham and other meats were also once that way here in America until processing food took over.

Dear Sun Spots: A lady was at my house and asked if I would later sell my round carpet under my parlor table. It’s forest green, round with white fringe. I also have two runners, one 27 inches wide and one 23. If interested please contact the column. – Therese Bernier, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for a reel-to-reel tape recorder to tape old tapes to up-to-date cassettes or discs. Please let me know if you have one. I can be reached at 786-6997. – George Ballas, Auburn.

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