What’s Zwetschgendatsche?

006.JPGWe received word today that our Sister Magdalen Schaan died. I am well-acquainted with her from my days as a postulant in Hankinson.  I created the title C.S.T.S. for the help that I provided to Sr. Magdalen: Christina’s Secretarial & Transportational Services.  (I guess spell-check doesn’t like my word ‘transportational,’ but I’ll get over it – Sr. Magdalen didn’t object :).

I helped her with some letter writing and pushed her around in her wheelchair, which gave rise to this title.  Another involvement I had with Sr. Magdalen was interviewing her to get her memories of serving on the different missions recorded.

That’s when I learned about Zwetschgendatsche

Sr. Magdalen was a baker and a cook.  One of the missions she served at was in Chicago, working for the Carmelite Fathers there.  Actually, that was her first assignment (1939-47). In this interview, she remembered that Chicago was smoky and had high humidity.  She went on to share a memory which brought her to chuckle in recalling it.

Sr. Magdalen shared: “When Sr. Salutaris graduated…got her master’s degree…we had a play for her. And we played everything back what happened to her when she was in Chicago.  It was a lot of fun.  And she enjoyed it…and I asked her what she wanted for her graduation and she said Zwetschgendatsche.  So I made five Zwetschgendatsche and put it on her bed, and she laughed and laughed and laughed.  I thought she’d never stop laughing.”  After Sr. Magdalen had recounted all this, I asked her: “What’s Zwetschgendatsche?”  She told me that “Zwetschgendatsche is something like a kuchen and then you put zwerschge* on top.  And sugar and cinnamon.”   (*zwerschge = plum)

Sr. Magdalen had baked these plum desserts and put them (still in the pans) on the bed of her fellow Sister as a joke.

Now, that’s a Sister after my own heart.  (I have begun my research on harmless April Fools’ tricks for next month.)

Sr. Magdalen and I made a food-related memory of our own during my days of C.S.T.S.  One day, we had breaded chicken and it was a bit tough.  For weeks afterward, we kidded about ‘crunchy chicken’ with each other.

Sr. Christina M. Neumann

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