Reinhardt Family History
Memories of Eggs and Chickens
Stories from Neil Reinhardt
My first memory of my sister Catherine was when I was six years old. We were coming home from school and it had turned very cold during the day so we had to face the wind on the way home. Catherine kept after Helen (Hans) to swing her arms and try to walk fast because Hans was getting very cold and she would hold her arms out from her body and shiver.
Catherine always helped mom in the house. She never helped in the barn, but I do remember her helping hoe thistles in the corn field. If I teased her she would cry very easily -- if I went a little too far.
When Catherine was very small mom would put the dishpan on the table and Catherine would do the dishes. She got to be a very good cook. When we would be doing our homework, she would pop a big pan of popcorn. I can see her yet with a wire popper over the old wood range, shaking it so it would not burn. When it came near Christmas, she was always busy popping corn and making big strings of it to hang on the Christmas tree. She baked and decorated dozens of cookies and made many different kinds of candy. She made the lightest sea-foam and maple fluff that would almost float off the dish. She also made caramels, caramel-coated marshmallows, and pecan rolls that were better than any that came from the store. When she made taffy, we helped to pull. She also made the best fudge I have ever tasted. Her cakes, pies and homemade bread made a wonderful smell as I came in for a quick lunch.
Catherine never forgot a birthday and would bake a 3-layer cake. My favorite was a 3-layered Devils Food cake with two kinds of frosting, a chocolate one spread over a white boiled frosting. Another favorite memory of her was when she would say 'If you will crack me some hickory nuts, I'll bake a Hickory Nut cake'.
Catherine did housework all her life. She worked for the family of a meat processor in Milwaukee, and one evening they had a big dinner to entertain friends. The next morning, the husband came into the kitchen and asked her to tell him exactly how she had prepared the ham. He had received so many compliments about the ham served at the dinner that, as a result, Catherine's recipe was put on the wrapping of the ham.
Catherine did cooking and housework until the war started. Then she worked in a defense plant making shells.
She was a great cook. I never remember her measuring much -- just a little of this and a little of that, but it always tasted good.