Our Heritage

The history of our Raspberry Jam

Above picture: Parker Family Homestead. Flathead Valley, Montana.

The Samuel Parker family, descendants of John Knox, the Presbyterian minister of Wales, immigrated to America in the early 1800’s. Initially, they found occupation in Iowa. By the mid 1800’s, his son Henry Parker wished for more of the American dream of owning property, and the opportunity to carve a life out of the land. Henry packed up his wife and children, Neil, Henry Samuel, Ida, Vera, and Frances, in a covered wagon. This family established one of the early homesteads in the Flathead Valley. They began in a one room cabin, Indian raided their out door ice chest, yet the family maintained complete self sufficiency. The children became quite progressive, and were of the first in the Valley to own a model T, generate electricity, and have a telephone. How does this relate to raspberry jam? The Parkers brought with them raspberry bush starts. Aunt Ida and Aunt Vera ( Frances, who Francie was named after, died of illness in harsh conditions), kept the raspberry patch alive all those years until they were turned over to the grand children, Francie’s mom and dad and great grandchildren. From them we learned all about gardening, canning, cooking and preserving. Today as their descendants, we can do no less than to serve homemade raspberry jam, made in house from real berries. Thank-you Aunt Ida and Vera and Grandpa Sam, and Uncle Neil for your hard work and the respect you passed on for God, family, and country.

Coffee is in our blood! Grandpa Pedersen’s Story.

In the Old Country, coffee was not easy to afford and was often unavailable for purchase. To many folks who had left

Europe’s hopeless economics for a chance of a better life in America, a hot cup of coffee at the crack of dawn (made from grounds that weren’t used yesterday and the day before that) before doing the chores in the fields, became symbolic of achieving a better life! Such was the case of our grandma Pedersen. To them, that early morning quiet ten minute cup of coffee together before the day began, meant everything. When grandpa became old and unhealthy, the Doctor said, “No more coffee.” Eventually, grandpa completely lost his memory and was put in a nursing home. Grandma visited him, but he did not know her. One day grandma came to visit him and brought her coffee pot along. She proceeded to brew coffee just like she always had, only there she had to shoo away the well meaning nurses. That day became a very special moment of life. The coffee brought back grandpa’s memory for a couple of hours. Grandma and grandpa talked all about the past, the family, the farm and all the special things they had shared in their lives together. The following day, grandpa passed away.

Our Aebleskiver Story

Marie Mekkelsen was born into a poor family of 11, in Lander, Denmark in 1888. At the young age of 9, she was hired out as a housekeeper. At age 15 she cleaned for a lawyer’s family. One-half year’s wages paid enough for her to buy a pair of shoes. In the year 1906, 18 years old, Marie came to America. Her brother, who had managed to borrow $50, had come ahead of her and paid her fare. The farewell meal prepared by her mother was her favorite, Danish Aebelskivers.

We use the original recipe which Marie’s mother used in Denmark.

The Old European’s Story

Above Picture: Parker Family Homestead. Flathead Valley, Montana.

1989:  The concept of  REMEMBERING OUR HERITAGE,  came to life in the form of “Old Country Waffles Cakes and Teas,” (later to be renamed  the  Old European Restaurant), opened in Pullman Washington.

It came about that a little deserted building which had at one time been a pancake house,  sat unoccupied, and needed to be reopened.  Francie Parker was asked by her then husband Rick Pedersen and the other investors, to develop a name, a menu, and a décor, that would make this little business have a special life.

In contemplation of how this business could have special meaning, the marvelous thinking, hard work and endurance which led our founding fathers, our great and great, great grandparents, to come to America to live their lives in a new country, served as reason to honor our American heritage in this little business.  Our way of paying tribute first is to remember their struggle and dedication to new life, by serving the vary same recipes which they brought with them from “the old country.

  The idea of using our restaurant to tell their stories, and serve their favorite recipes, seemed a perfect tribute to their dedication to God, Family and Country, if indeed the food was prepared from scratch in much the same manner as they had done. Twenty five years later, this tribute continues.

“Gosc w Dom, Bag w Dom”

The mission statement she chose is “Gosc w Dom, Bag w Dom”.  A Polish saying which means, Guest in the House, God in the House.  If a theme song could be played, it would be Neil Diamond’s “ They Come to America.”  He pretty well describes the hope these brave men and women had when they left all previously known to stake out a better life for us, their children.

In today’s fast food world, life has become all about money making and time.  Plastic has replaced wood and steel.  Fabrication has replaced craftsmanship.  Mixes have replaced foods prepared from scratch.   BUT, not at the Old European Restaurants.   We actually use original recipes which have made it across the Atlantic.  All our batters are made fresh with real products like eggs that we crack, 100% butter and milk.  We serve real potatoes, real whipped cream, fresh ground coffee, and yes, we do squeeze real oranges so we can serve you REAL orange juice.

Unique and special signature items which you had better try or miss out are;  German Potato Pancakes, Danish Aebelskievers, Dutch Babies, Swedish Crepes, Cream of Tomato Basil Soup with homemade Sunflower Wheat Bread.  Also for lunch you can get a real German Ruben on Dark Rye, or a Greek Chicken and Vegetable sandwich. with an array of homemade soups.

In hopes of remembering…

It has happened through the years, Francie and her daughters are the “original members” still involved in this small family business in Pullman. The Post Falls location is a partnership involving all of the above , which is managed by Melynnda a great granddaughter, and her husband Nate Thiessen. Everyone involved understands the rich heritage passed to us, appreciates it, and strives to carry on the traditions in the form of real food and great service.

Please enjoy the stories she shares in the menu.  You also will notice that we would also love for you to send us stories and recipes that  your  family may have.   Melynnda, (one of the great grand daughters) would love to put it on our web sight, if you would only press the contact us button, and talk to her,  you also will be keeping memories to be honored, alive.