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Food gifts are her love language

By Staff | Jun 17, 2011

Marilyn Arndorfer has always enjoyed cooking and baking and very often will give the gift of food to friends and family during both happy and sad times.


Farm News staff writer

Algona – Marilyn Arndorfer is 80 years young and although she may not cook for the large groups of workers and her family like she used to while living on the farm, being in the kitchen and cooking for others are still a large part of her life.

Arndorfer has been married to Bob Arndorer for almost 62 years and together they had six children – four girls and two boys.

The couple, who both grew up in the Saint Benedict/Corwith area of Kossuth County, moved off of the farm to Algona 20 years ago.

This salmon ball is a favorite for Christmas Eve and other events in Marilyn Arndorfer’s family.

Arndorfer said she learned her cooking skills from her mother, Rosalia Rahm. “An excellent cook,”?Arnsdorfer said, but one that preferred to be outdoors gardening and helping around the farm.

Her mother’s love for the outdoors put Arndorfer in the kitchen to cook for her family that included six children.

“Being the oldest, I started cooking at a young age,” Arndorfer said.

Arndorfer began her years of cooking enjoyment with an old-fashioned stove that burned wood and corn cobs. She recalls the first time she made homemade chocolate pudding.

“The family liked it and I made it quite often after that,” she said.

The pudding and just about everything else she would make used items they harvested from their farm -milk, cream, fruits and vegetables.

A set of Revere Ware that the Arndorfers as a wedding present is the same set of pans she cooks with today.

Arndorfer thinks back to the meals those pans have helped prepare over the years and is amazed to be able to still have them in such good condition.

Over the years, not only did she prepare up to three meals a day for her own family of six children, but would also feed a group of men that were at the farm either shelling corn, filling the silo or baling hay.

Arndorfer said she enjoys baking homemade pies and cinnamon rolls. Oft times, she presents them as gifts to friends and relatives that are experiencing a death or illness; as well as for happier occasions like holidays and births.

She also makes pies for church dinners and when it comes to Christmas will make “Stollen” Christmas bread along with other goodies she shares with friends and others that may need some extra Christmas cheer.

Horseradish is most likely an item not too many people are known for, but Arndorfer supplies freshly-ground horseradish each year for the St. Benedict breakfast and bake sale held each fall.

She said there isn’t a recipe that she follows, she just pours ingredients in and keeps tasting until she feels she has the right combination of ingredients.

Following a recipe isn’t something Arndorfer claims to be good at doing. She said she will end up using three different recipes and eventually making her own creation.

The Arndorfer family gathers each spring and makes its own homemade sausage.

This family affair includes Arndorfer making the seasoning for the meat and Bob Arnsdorfer processing the meat in the smokehouse with other family members pitching in.

She said they will make up to 300 pounds of smoked sausage and 100 pounds of summer sausage out of pork raised by their sons.

Some helpful tips, Arndorfer provided included:

  • While slicing a meringue pie, wet the knife to avoid tearing the meringue.
  • Use instant tapioca in fruit pies as a thickening agent in place of flour.

Rhubarb cream pie

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 well beaten eggs

3 cups cut rhubarb

1 unbaked pie crust

Place rhubarb in the pie shell. Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and nutmeg, then the eggs. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake about 30 minutes more.

Lemon pie

1 cup sugar

2 rounded tablespoons of corn starch

Grated rind of one lemon and juice also.

1/8 teaspoon of salt

2 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups boiling water

Butter the size of a walnut

Baked pie shell

Mix sugar, corn starch and salt then add lemon zest and juice and egg yolks.

Add boiling water and cook over medium heat until thick. Add butter, cool and pour into pie shell. Frost with meringue and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until browned.


2 or 3 egg whites

Dash of salt

2 tablespoons sugar per egg white

Beat egg whites and salt until foamy; then add sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating to form moist, lustrous peaks.

Pie crust

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup lard

1 egg beaten

1 tablespoon vinegar

5 tablespoons ice water

Mix flour, sugar and a dash of salt. Add lard and mix with fingers until crumbly.

Beat egg with vinegar and water and add all at once to flour mixture until it forms a ball. Chill.

Makes about 4 crusts.

Salmon ball

1 pound can salmon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons grated onion

1 tablespoon horseradish

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Drain and flake salmon. Mix with all ingredients except pecans and parsley. Chill for two hours.

Combine pecans and parsley and roll ball in the mixture of pecans and parsley and chill again. Makes one large or two smaller balls.

Serve with a variety of crackers.

Scalloped pineapple

(This side dish, Arnsdorfer said, compliments ham and roast pork as well as turkey and chicken.)

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

6 slices fresh bread- crumbled

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat eggs and milk. Add to sugar mixture. Fold in bread and pineapple. Pour into a buttered two-quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Cocoa fudge cake

Sift into a bowl:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa

Mix for two minutes and add to a well made in the flour mixture:

1/2 cup shortening (I use lard)

1 1/4 cups sour milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

Grease a 9-by-9-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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