I grew up with many German Mennonite family traditions from my mom’s family, but one of my favorites was the watermelon and Roll Kuchen we had every summer. In fact, we never ate watermelon without this salty fried bread!
And now, I’m passing this tradition onto my own children, who beg me for this special seasonal meal as soon as they start seeing watermelon in the grocery store!
I don my apron and usually end up with several of the children surrounding me with their aprons on as I mix up a double batch of roll kuchen, roll it out on the island, and begin cutting it into strips with a table knife. The kids like to add the little slit down the middle of the kuchen to keep it from puffing up too much, and of course, they love to be nearby when I start to lift the yummy fritters from the hot oil!
As fast I can fry and Daddy can cut watermelon, the kids are grabbing the warm bread and thick slices of watermelon and heading to the family table to devour their annual summer meal! We sit and reminisce about other roll kuchen and watermelon meals – how I ate this meal every year as a kid, how it was the first meal I made when I came out of the morning sickness funk from my 2nd child, how we love to save the rinds and make watermelon rind pickles.
There is something very special about passing down a heritage of food. It connects the future with the past, and your children with family members they never even met. Food is full of stories and memories, and someday, I hope my children will sit around their own tables, reminiscing with their own children about how every summer Grandma would make roll kuchen and serve it up with a big slice of watermelon!
- 6 eggs
- ¼ c. melted butter
- ⅔ c. milk
- 5 c. flour
- 2 tsp salt
- oil for frying
- Beat eggs, butter and milk in a bowl.
- Add in flour and salt and mix well.
- Roll out onto a floured surface, and cut into rectangles. Cut a small slit lengthwise down the center of each rectangle.
- Fry in 1" of oil until lightly browned on both sides.
- Serve with watermelon!
You can find out more about my heritage from the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel, Kansas, including the ship registry from when my family came to this country!