Each Christmas, Grandma would bake hundreds of cookies - so many varieties - that she would store in saved shirt and dress boxes. The boxes were always lined with plenty of wax paper and each variety of cookie was carefully placed in these treasured boxes.  The kids and grandchildren ate cookies with milk during the holidays and long, long after.

Grandma's apple strudel was a work of art.  She would prepare strudel dough to a sticky consistency.  Then, with floured hands holding about a handful of dough, Grandma would begin pulling and stretching the dough onto the kitchen table.  The table was covered with a cotton table cloth to avoid the dough from sticking to the surface.

Grandma knew exactly how much dough she needed to cover our kitchen table.  It was exciting to watch and also to help Grandma.  Grandma would continue stretching and pulling the fine dough until it became paper thin and almost transparent as it covered the entire kitchen table.  She would work quickly because the thin dough would begin to dry.  The process was tedious.

When the pulling was completed, Grandma would first cut sections of strudel dough then place thinly sliced apples (tossed with lemon juice and waiting to be used) on the transparent strudel dough sections, sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and a few raisins and walnuts onto the apple filling and carefully rolled the fragile dough and placed the approximate 13" long rolls side by side in the greased pan and brushed the strudel with butter and baked the strudel.

The fragrance was heavenly and the final result was a delicate, lightly browned, and unbelievably flaky apple strudel.

There were two ways we would eat strudel:  one way was to cover the warm strudel with cream (yum, yum) or Grandma would slice the strudel in approximately three inch slices for dessert.

Dear Grandma, thank you, thank you for the delicious Christmas cookies and apple strudel, and for having patience to make strudel!

Let us also not forget (1) Grandma's plum dumplings, (2) Grapfen (fried yeast dough in round shapes with a thumb indentation to be filled later with homemade jam!!!), (3) her perfect apple slices, (4) homemade noodles for soup including "fleckles" (tiny flat noodle squares).  We could go on, and on, and on...!

On Sundays, we would walk to St. Alphonsus Church located at Southport, Lincoln and Wellington Avenues for 9:00 a.m. Mass and Grandma would rush to have dinner ready at about 12:00 noon - either a pork roast, sauer braten, roast chicken or some oven roasted main course.

The kitchen smelled so-o-o-o-o good.  In winter we always had soup as a starter course.  On the way home from Sunday Mass, we would stop by a bakery shop on Southport Avenue for fresh crisp rolls for our dinner.

After Sunday dinner and dishes washed and put away, Grandma and Grandpa would read Sunday's newspaper and Frank and I would race for the comics.  When we had Sunday visitors, the adults would usually play cards or the day would just be spent relaxing and with our friends.

Grandpa did not attend church on Sunday, but he would enjoy either driving his car or taking the street car to Maxwell Street in Chicago - a kind of flea market - where he would find interesting bargains and would buy more tools for his tool shed in the basement.
Grandma Fischer's Apple Strudel

5 cups flour (Ceresota unbleached)
2 heaping Tbl. butter or margarine
2 cups lukewarm water
Pinch of salt.

4 lbs. apples, sliced thin
Melted butter
Bread crumbs
Sugar and Cinnamon

Cut butter into flour on board with fingers.  Make hole in center, add salt, then add water gradually, mixing well with spoon after each addition.

Knead well until smooth and satiny (very important).  Divide dough into 3 balls.  Roll out to about 9" circle, cover and let stand for about 20 minutes.  Roll out one part over tablecloth and with back of both hands begin stretching gently as thin as possible.  Cut off waste edges and save to reroll.  Sprinkle with melted butter, sliced apples, bread crumbs, raisins, cinnamon and sugar over about 2/3 of surface, leaving 1/3 empty on one end.  Fold in edge on each side lengthwise.  Begin rolling from filled side by lifting tablecloth.  Repeat with other rolls of dough and saved waste ends (re-rolled for 4th strudel).

Brush tops with melted butter and bake in greased pans at 350 to 375 degrees for about a half hour or until lightly browned.

When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.