Mennonite food

Family tradition goes back 500 years

Making peppernuts for Christmas are, from left to right: granddaughters Kishina and Anaya Toews, and Oma Marion Toews. (Photo by Dave Toews)

Pfeffernusse,” Dora repeated after me in amazement! She couldn’t believe that my Christmas treats were the same as hers.

It was Nov. 7, 2002, and we were sitting around the pool at Toddy’s Backpacker Hostel in Alice Springs, Australia. Nostalgia crept among us; we had wandered far and wouldn’t be home for Christmas.

Peppernuts and anarsa

Neeta Solomon cooks a meal for Marlene Epp. (Photo by Marlene Epp)

A plate of anarsa. (Photo by Marlene Epp)

Neeta Epp prepared various dishes, including anarsa for Marlene Epp, who visited India to interview Mennonite women there about their food practices. (Photo by Marlene Epp)

I recently learned to eat anarsa—a sweet, rice-based treat—while travelling in India visiting with Mennonite women, and learning about their religious lives and food practices. It was late February, but I was told that Christians in India normally prepare anarsa at Christmastime as a seasonal and festive treat.

Rollkuchen Remorse

In grade 7 I met a particularly tall kid whose nickname was 'Moose.'  One day I asked one of the guys that went to the same junior elementary school as him when this nickname came about.  I assumed it would have been soon after he hit a growth spurt.  The sarcastic answer surprised me.  A few years earlier, as I was told, Moose had started asking people to call him that.  Moose had created his own nickname, a major social faux-pas.

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