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.