fried cakes

Crime scene investigation. It’s not all blood and DNA. Spiffy science tricks and cotton swabs may help but ultimately the shooter goes to death row based upon what is said on the witness stand. Those detectives who can talk to the right people in the right way and keep all the tales told straight are the ones who get to sign the affidavit in support of an arrest warrant. And there is no text book that explains just how to do that. It has to come from inside.

My German-American grandmother was not only a saint, she could cook too. And she did it with a wood burning kitchen stove. Her influence on my life comes around in so many ways. Yes, I thought of her when writing parts of SINK RATE. She hovers over my shoulder along with so many others to help me through a passage and nudge me into the next chapter.

The double murder of her friends and neighbors has Freda Bern shaken and afraid. But what she knows may be too important to miss or get wrong. Ozzie finds a way to connect with his witness and get fed too. From SINK RATE, my crime/detective novel due to be released this fall:

The laughing sound reached Sam in the alley. It had to be Ozzie and it was coming from Mrs. Bern’s. He could hear a woman laughing, too. Sam went up to the door and listened. Ozzie and the woman were yakking back and forth in English, bits of German, and Polish. He knocked on the door and opened it to look into the little kitchen. Ozzie was standing at a tiny counter top to the right of the stove with his sleeves rolled up kneading dough on a bed of flour. The woman stood only chest high to Ozzie and was looking up at him with a big smile and listening to him tell the punch line from one of his preacher, priest, rabbi jokes. This was the one about skydiving that Sam really didn’t think was funny. Sam missed the last of it when Ozzie slipped into pidgin German again and the lady shook, she laughed so hard. She was at the stove over a sputtering pan making fried cakes. It looked like some Norman Rockwell painting. “Hey, Ozzie. Who’s your new girlfriend?”

They both turned to him and Ozzie said, “Mrs. Freda Bern, this is Sam Deland, my boss. Don’t let him eat all them cakes, my wife has to hide ’em when he comes to my house,” Sam loved the little sugary doughnuts, especially on a nippy day like today. Ozzie wiped his hands and put his arm around Freda. “We decided we needed to cook. Always cook in time of sorrow, makes you think of helping the living, don’t it Mrs. Bern? Besides I was hungry, been over two hours since I ate last.”

“Pleased I am to meet ya, Mr. Sam. Sit and drink some tea before cold it gets,” she was short and round and her wire framed glasses were perched at the end of her nose. She looked like Mrs. Santa Claus. Sam was charmed.

2 thoughts on “FRIED CAKES

  1. My paternal grandmother (and one of the relatives for whom I am a namesake), Mary Augusta Sinderman Reed, was also German (from Germany…she came over to the US before 1920, when she was still a teenager). Although I never met her because of her passing when my mother was newly pregnant with me, I understood from my father that she, too, was a wonderful cook – the kind who could turn random ingredients into a delicious meal. Her fried cakes/donuts were famed in the family, talked about, still, when I was a child and she had been gone for more than a decade. Thanks for the happy reminder. I enjoyed this scene from SINK RATE! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The “Pennsylvania Dutch” of the portion of the state where the story is set were, of course, not Dutch at all. That German toughness and grit has been diluted over the years but the language and the manners can still be found if you look and listen. Grandma Fuller (Schatz) was from farther upstate but I am reminded of her when I look and listen in my travels.

      Liked by 1 person

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