Auntie’s Pretzels – Grandmothers, Mothers, and The Ladies who fill that Role

Back in the 1980’s my Maternal Grandmother asked me what I would like as a gift. I responded that I would like copies of family recipes more than anything.  It took some convincing she didn’t believe me.  What I received was more than I could imagine.  It was a huge book of handwritten recipes, some of which had personal notes to me with some family information.

I had always heard stories of “Auntie” she was the sister of my 2nd Great Grandfather (my grandmother was off a generation in her note to me). Her name was Louise Steidle, and she was a professional cook for much of her life.  Louise lived with my Grandmother’s family and was very much an important figure in her life.  The picture above is my Grandmother and her “Tante.”

Below is one of the recipes from the cookbook, with a note from my grandmother.  I’ve committed to trying to make these someday, but it was authored by a person who did not need to measure to bake.  One ingredient, ‘Kaudische Soda” has been a bit difficult to figure out.  I have even asked German colleagues, but with no luck.  I believe it is just another word for Lye in her recipe, which my grandmother spelled phonetically – caustic soda.

Family recipes have their place in genealogy.  Louise Steidle never married or had children, but she was a mother figure to my Grandmother.  I would never have known about her if it weren’t for the discussions around cooking.  She would be easy to overlook if all that you research is your direct ancestors.  She deserves a place in my family history.  Here is her pretzel recipe:

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