Pfeffernussen) how the memories of home and Christmas celebrations past crowded her mind. The memories include the Christmas tree's pungent odor that mingled with the aroma of a clean house, potato soup and peppernuts.
Twelve-year-old Tina Epp, sleeping on a cot in the corner of a large family kitchen, dug her head deeper into the soft featherbed. It was Christmas Eve, 1881. The house had long been still, except for the tiny fire that flickered in the brick oven. Tina could not sleep, this was the most difficult Christmas Eve, for things were different. Mother said there would be NO presents, or enough food to make their usual Papanat (peppernuts), or their lovely peppermint Christmas cookies. Finally Tina drifted off to sleep, only to awaken at midnight. Who was in the kitchen at midnight? Mama? Tina pretended to be asleep. Before long the sweet, familiar aroma of syrup peppernuts baking filled the room. Tina peeks from one eye. Papa was ever there. Her Mama whispered, "Go, put one in her mouth." Tears of quiet joy trickled onto the featherbed as she tasted the peppernuts. Mama had found enough flour, eggs and syrup to make peppernuts. It would be Christmas after all. Tina always remembered her dear mama baking peppernuts at midnight.....as told by Frieda Lehn Neufeld in Norma Jost Voth's book - Mennonite Foods & Folkways from South Russia!