My Grandma grew up in Iowa, she was an educated young woman, she taught school and I remember she had the most beautiful hand writing. Edwin Buettner, my Grandfather, went to Iowa in search for summer work when he met my Grandmother. My grandfather lived in a small German community called Wartburg, in southern Illinois.
I have so much respect for my Grandmother. She moved to a small-town hundreds of miles away from her family and she was teased by the neighbors because she did not understand the German language that well.
Fast forward, when my dad left us when I was four, my mom took us back to her home town of Waterloo Illinois just a few miles from Wartburg. My Grandma would take care of us, (my two brothers and I) when our mom was at work. Although my Aunts were not as supportive, told my mother that we would not amount to anything without a father around. My Grandmother always treated us with so much love and kindness. We even had to live with her after we had a kitchen fire in our apartment and had to move out. Grandma would brush my hair every night 100 strokes. She played cards with us and never said anything when we knew what was in her hand because of the reflection in her glasses,
It seemed like she was always in the kitchen, her whole family came over every Sunday after church for dinner, we would celebrate every holiday and every birthday. My aunts and uncles and all my cousins. It seemed to be that Grandma was always frying something for dinner. One of us would ask her, “Grandma what’s for dinner? Chicken”. You see my uncle hunted and although we might be eating rabbit or squirrel Grandma always told us it was chicken. I remember one specific dinner that we had “beef” stew, another uncle that was as picking as us kids, ate three bowls raving about how good it was. He finally asked Grandma what was in it, I guess she just couldn’t help it, she told him the truth. It’s deer meat, with that my uncle pushed the rest of his last bowl away and wouldn’t eat another bite. HAHAHA
During Christmas we would spend a lot of time at Grandma’s, baking cookies, pies, bread, and everything was so good. She would roll out dumplings on the Hoosier cabinet and make chicken and dumplings that were so good she could never make enough. Nobody has been able to exactly duplicate her recipe.
Whenever I was in my grandma’s kitchen I was felt better, like I was home and when my mom and her brothers and sisters and the husbands and wives sat down after the kitchen was cleaned up to play pinochle, I loved listening to them play cards, talking and laughing.
My grandma would fix me tomato soup when I was sick. She would take a fresh piece of bread and tear it up in little pieces and put in the soup. That is still how I eat tomato soup today.
My grandma’s kitchen always made me feel peaceful, relaxed and most of all-loved. I hope you feel at home when you sit at Stella Mae’s Coffee Shop.