Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Day in Ruth's Kitchen!

Today I'm making a tribute to another hard working Mennonite lady, Ruth Janz.
 We were in Calgary on the weekend of December 12-14 at the 
'Celebration of Life' for Kurt Janz,
a beloved husband, father, uncle, brother, Opa and friend to many.
The Janz home has always been filled with guests and family.
You could arrive on their doorstep unexpectedly and you felt welcomed.
 When you walked into their home you would always be greeted with this verse.
 "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
 This has been their motto and their lives have totally modelled this text.

 After the service, family was invited for coffee and lunch.
I was immediately given a job.
But first Ruth, insisted that I put on a 'Kleider Schutze"
It's like an over sized apron dress, which buttons up the front,
so that you don't get your 'good clothes' dirty.
My first assignment was to prepare the seeds of a pomegranate.
Oops!  They had high expectations of me.
I sheepishly let them know that I was not familiar with this fruit.

They were more than eager to  walk me through this simple procedure.
I'll share a simple technique that they taught me.
Pomegranates are known for high health benefits.
They are a red fruit with a tough outside layer. 
They are very high in antioxidants and
offer protection against heart disease and cancer.
Seeding a pomegranate may seem like a lot of work for just a piece of fruit.
First, when choosing a pomegranate, look for a very shiny one.
If they are not shiny, they may not be presentable.
I learned that lesson myself.
Cut the crowns off.
Score the fruit in quarters from stem to crown.
Immerse the scored fruit in a bowl of cold water.
Break sections apart with your fingers separating the seeds from the membrane.
Discards skin and membrane.  Drain the seeds and dry on paper towels.

Meanwhile Margaret, Ruth's daughter was preparing the salad.
She told me that when she goes to work,
she first gathers up her colleagues and checks the MGCC blog.
I always enjoy working in someone else's  kitchen.
Women, young and old love conversations and what better place to visit than around food.

Now, sprinkle these 'gems' on your favorite salad and you'll surprise your guests.

Cakes were always an important part of any occasion in Ruth's kitchen.
Prince Regenten Torte
Frankfurter Kranz
Unbaked cheese cake
Chocolate mousse cake
Notice the cake on the upper left.  It has an insertion around the middle.
I learned early that this piece of cake was for the 'highly honored birthday guest.'
Even though we were not celebrating a birthday,
I noticed how all these special efforts were put in place to commemorate a "Celebration of Life"

There are many inspirational chefs and bakers in this world today.
But I'm most fond of these Mennonite women, sister in laws to Ruth.
They have cooked and baked for their families unselfishly
offering nothing more than love, support, and hospitality.
Erika Janz, Ruth Janz, Frieda Bartel
Even through this time of loss, as difficult as it was,
you have sent blessings forward to many of us
and once again, modeled nothing more than hospitality and love.
I would love to come to your kitchen again and bake the Prince Regent Torte.
For those of you who read my last post,
 The coats have found their rightful owners.
Thank you Mary Dyck, (administrative assistant at Bethany Chapel, Calgary) 
for solving the mystery of the coats. Facebook alerted her attention to the title.
Mary will be receiving a copy of the Celebrations book. 
She was quite excited to know that she would receive her own copy.
She purchased many copies as Christmas gifts, but did not own one herself.


  1. What a joy it must be to visit such a welcoming, warm home - and to share the kitchen tasks!

  2. What a lovely home and lovely people even in their time of loss.

  3. What a wonderful post. What a blessing families can be to each other. Our family has had the honour of enjoying the Prince Regent Torte as well. Many times thru the years Geri would bake it for us when we came to visit her family from Prince George. She knew that Jim had a sweet tooth and that over the days we spent with her it would get eaten. Those Bartel Ladies certainly have the gift of hospitality and are great bakers.

  4. I read your blog and try your recipes. They remind me of cooking with my grandmother. My maternal family is Mennonite, immigrating from the Ukraine and landing in Canada. They are all in B.C. I was born in So.California and still live here.I am a grandma now myself! I wanted to share this way of extracting pomegranate seeds. It is easier than the way you described. Best wishes to you.

    1. Thank You ValRae for your sharing this video...I watched the video. I took my pomegranate from the fridge and followed the instructions. It worked perfectly. Thanks for this great tip. It's wonderful that others can share their ideas. It truly works.

  5. Ah, I was going to share the "slap with a wooden spoon" method for pomegranates too……I just learned this recently and it is so easy! I'm glad you had such a nice visit with your relatives, and wow, those are some amazing looking cakes.

  6. I would love to have the recipes for the cakes pictured above. What a wonderful way to remember a loved one!

  7. Do you happen to have a pattern for the Kleider Schutze? My mom wears one all the time and it's getting a little ragged.