Recipes and Traditions by: Mary Sharp
More Americans claim German ancestry than any other, so it only made sense to Penfield Publisher Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret to update Penfield's 1991 book on German-American life, heritage, and culture. The result is "German Touches: Recipes and Traditions" by Mary Sharp of Cedar Rapids, a freelance writer and editor and former city editor of The Gazette. The newly released title updates, revises, and expands "German-American Life: Recipes and Traditions," written by John Zug. "It was an honor to work with the words of John Zug, who was the Des Moines Register and Tribune’s editor for years before he and Joan started the publishing company Penfield," Sharp says. The book provides a state-by-state overview of German-related cultural sites and festivals, including where to find the best Oktoberfests in the nation. Iowa is well represented, with sections on the Amana Colonies, the German American Heritage Center & Museum in Davenport, and the Hausbarn in Manning. The book presents personal stories from eight German Americans, including William Eckhardt of Iowa City, Anneliese Heider Tisdale of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Christoph Trappe and Brigitte Meyer-Jenniges, both of Marion. Other sections present a brief history of Germany and of German immigration to the United States and Canada. It reviews the people of German ancestry who've shaped U.S. history and those who’ve had a big impact on the arts. Other chapters look at German folk art, music, and dances and report on how German traditions have deeply influenced how Americans celebrate holidays. The book concludes with 100 German recipes, including a goodly number from Anneliese Heider Tisdale, a German American who is a good cook, a retired teacher, and author of the memoir, "Christmas Trees Lit the Sky: Growing Up in World War II Germany."