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Fastnacht Kuechles  Bierdeckel, A Hobby of Fond Memories
 4 • The German Citizen • January-February 2024                                                                        The German Citizen • January-February 2024 • 5

     By Daniel Schwarz                I placed my favorite Bierdeckelen
 By Karen Bordonaro  Through German im‐  here in Western New York in times
 ultural expressions are often  migrants bringing their  past.  very souvenir has a special  on the top row of the photo and will
                                   let you in on their stories. From the
          story and memory, and that’s
 found in food, and the city  Buffalo newspapers digitized in  Ewhy we get them and keep  top left, I enjoyed a great beer in
 Cof Buffalo, New York is rich  way of life at the time  the New York State Historic News‐  them. When was the last time that  Rosenheim, Bavaria where some of
 in this history. As the “Willkom‐  with them to Buffalo, we  papers  collection  under  Erie  you had a beer at a restaurant that  my ancestors had lived. Also, during
 men” on the Welcome Wall public  can see why Fastnacht  County (found from their home  was served to you and was placed on  future visits to Germany, when I
 art project in East Buffalo shows,  page at https://nyshistoricnewspa‐  top of a beer coaster? If you were in  took a train from Munich, I was able attest to the presence of
 German is a recognized part of the  Kuechles would have been  Fastnacht Kuechles in Buffalo over  Germany, this would be almost ev‐  to stop there and get a rental car at
 city’s heritage. (The wall can be  commonly known here in  ery time. There they are called  the train station, and drive to visit
 the years. For example, on February
 viewed at  Western New York in  25, 1903 the Buffalo Evening News  Bierdeckel, and sometimes Bierun‐  my family in Übersee Feldwies a
 community/ak-public-art/wel‐  times past.  reported that “Coffee and fastnacht  tersetzer. Literally it means beer lid  town on the famous Lake Chiemsee,
 come-wall). It is in this spirit of the  kuchen were served free by the  or cover, or sitting under beer, but  and to Ruhpolding, known as the
 diversity of the city’s past that I offer  women of the German and English  are beer coasters. They are some‐  German Alps of Bavaria, and to oth‐
 .com/pennsylvania-dutch-fasnacht-  times considered a throwback for a  ers in Moos near Tüssling, and
 the following tidbit on an item of  Lutheran churches” for an annual
 doughnuts/, and “Kekle” at http://  beer stein lid, especially when  Hirten near Altötting. Yes, I have a
 German cuisine that has been well  “fräulein.” And “Kuech” or “Küch”  was written down by my mother in  orphan asylum gift reception (p. 3,  drinking at an outside table where a  lot of family in Germany, and even
 known in Western New York in the  refers to “cake” or “cooking” or  her best attempt to capture the di‐  old-twist-on-the-donut/. There are  column 7). Jumping to February 1,  bug could fly into your beer, or  Austria.
 past: the lowly Fastnacht Kuechle.  “kitchen” (in modern German,  rections for making them. The in‐  many variations in modern German  1967, an ad in the Island Dispatch  worse! Cover your beer folks!  The next Bierdeckel is from Mu‐
 While Paula’s Donuts and local  think of words like “Kuchen” or  gredients include flour, salt, sugar,  doughnuts as well, with different re‐  (of Grand Island) placed by Koegl’s  Yes, tradition is great, but adver‐  rau and is definitely my favorite of
 area grocery stores still carry these  “kochen” or “Küche/Kueche”).  yeast, butter, milk, and eggs. Baking  gions of Germany giving them dif‐  Home Bakery announces that “be‐  tising  is  even  better.  These  my entire collection! It certainly has
 ginning next Tuesday and all during
 doughnuts at Easter time, they are  The purpose for baking Fast‐  instructions are equally simple and  ferent names. A sampling of such  Lent, we will have Fastnacht Kuech‐  Bierdeckel are made from absorbent  the greatest extra special memories
 generally labelled these days as sim‐  nacht Kuechles right before Lent be‐  straightforward. They are: Place 1  names includes the Fasnacht and  les and Hot Cross Buns” along with  cardboard with advertising printed  for me. In 1990 I was part of an
 ply “Fastnachts.” But in prior times,  gins was to use up ingredients that  cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 table‐  the Fasnet Küchle in addition to the  “Streussel or Cinnamon Coffee  on them advertising the beer served  American  community  summer
 were supposed to be given up for  spoons sugar, and 1 package dry  Berliner, Krapfen, Bauernkrapfen,
 they were known and advertised  Cakes for 55 cents” (p. 12, column  and/or the brewery that makes the  band playing clarinet that toured
 this period of fasting such as lard  yeast in bowl. Mix well. Heat 1/4-  Kreppel,  Pfannkuchen,  and  beer served. Patrons are usually wel‐  Germany,  Austria,  Italy,  and
 with the full moniker of “Fastnacht  3). The Courier Express of March 6,
 (frying fat) or butter. Meant as a way  pound butter and 1 cup milk to 130  Schmalzkuchen,  among  others.  come to take their Bierdeckel with  Switzerland. On this tour I met my
 Kuechles.” The following article is a  1974 likewise placed an ad, this one
 to avoid temptation during the fast  degrees, add to dry ingredients. Add  And of course, Buffalo is home to  them as a souvenir. In Germany  future wife Louise, the love of my
 small attempt on my part, therefore,  from an Acme Super Saver store, of‐
 which may have had economic as  1 cup flour and 3 eggs. Add last 2  the very well-known Paczki, a Pol‐  there are well over 1,400 breweries,  life, who played trombone on this
 to add “Kuechles” to the historical  fering a package of “Fastnacht
 well as religious reasons, their cre‐  cups flour. Let stand in a warm spot  ish version of the Fastnacht Kuechle  and collecting Bierdeckel can be a  trip. The musical tour started with
 record of German contributions to  ation also became a source of cele‐  until doubled (about an hour).  as well.  Kuecheles” for 59 cents (p. 23). In‐  great hobby. If you have collected  our arrival in Munich (naturally vis‐
 the history of this area. Admission:  bration in marking this time of the  Work dough down. On a floured  Connecting to their European  terestingly, the March 23, 1982 pre‐  one or more of these Bierdeckel, you  iting the Hofbraühaus) and by bus
 “Kuechle” was my maiden name, a  year in the calendar. This sense of  surface, roll out dough, cut, and  roots, Fastnacht Kuechles are likely  ferred spelling that appeared in an  can be called a tegestologist. It al‐  ended after 21 days and 11 outdoor
 not completely uncommon name in  celebration took, and still takes, the  shape into circles. Put on waxed pa‐  to have originated in southern areas  ad placed by Tops in the Courier  most sounds naughty.  performances that took place in var‐
 Buffalo, so I do have a vested per‐  form of Carnival or Fasching events  per on cookie sheet and in a warm  in Germany such as Munich and its  Express read “Fastnacht Kuechles”  As you can see from the photo  ious towns, villages, and cities, fly‐
 and advertised a package of 6 count
 sonal interest in seeing this small  in German speaking areas, analo‐  place for 10 minutes for crust to  neighboring towns and villages in  for $1.19 (p. B–5).  collage, the great variety of advertis‐  ing home from Switzerland.
 part of history preserved in some  gous to those of Mardis Gras in  form. Fry in deep fat about 370 de‐  Bavaria. This was an historically  The most recent mention of  ing, and even the interesting sizes  Coming back to my favorite
 French speaking areas. While to the  grees. Turn once. Remove, lift each  Catholic region where pre-Lenten
 form.  Fastnacht Kuechles in this newspa‐  and shapes of Bierdeckelen. How‐  Bierdeckel, the Murauer Bierdeckel.
 best of my knowledge, Buffalo did  one in and out of boiling water,  festivals have strong cultural con‐  the morning before departing on  our family reunions in Moos, they  screen that could be seen from al‐
 “Fastnacht Kuechle” can be  per database occurred on February  ever, the majority of Bierdeckelen are  I collected this one in the very small
 not put on huge pre-Lenten festivi‐  place in hot oven at 375 degrees for  nections that still reverberate today  our two buses with all 75 of us musi‐  ordered beer from this local brew‐  most any place in the multistory
 translated literally as “fasting night  26, 1988 in a Treasures column in  round, then many are square, and  Austrian community of Murau,
 ties on a grand scale, its observance  4 to 5 minutes to dry. Cool, sprinkle  in celebrations. The Black Forest  cians and spouses. As we were per‐  ery, and the brewery beer truck  restaurant. What makes this beer
 little doughnut.” The word “Fast‐  the Island Dispatch on page 5 that  sometimes other shapes. Since this  near Graz, Austria. That place had
 was still noted in the baking of Fast‐  with powdered sugar.  area of modern Baden-Württem‐  forming there, about 9am in the  came and delivered case after case of  coaster special is the memory of
 nacht” indicates a probable origin in  reads as follows: “It was the Annual  photo is of a portion of my  an amazing brewery and beer as‐
 nacht Kuechles by many German-  Variations in both the spelling  berg in southwest Germany is an‐  morning, the Bierstube (beer pub)  their great brews and soft drinks.  sharing a beer and food there with
 the southern part of Germany, typi‐  Ash Wednesday Kaffee Klatsch at  Bierdeckel collection, there is a story  sortment, and the most welcoming
 speaking families in the area.  or name of “Fastnacht Kuechles”  other likely place of origin, in a re‐  served us beer after beer. As our  With  the  homemade  German  one of my best friends Heinz from
 cally Bavaria, and it generally means  the home of my friend Rose, the sec‐  with each one. Either having been  community. My Tante from Graz
 The very common ingredients  and its ingredients can be found in  gion that has both Catholic and  glasses emptied, they noticed, and  Brezeln (pretzels), weisser raddi  Albany, NY who was visiting us for
 the night before Lent begins, the  ond for me. Eating was the first or‐  there to enjoy a bier or given to me  even visited with me there and en‐
 found in my grandmother’s recipe  many different places. Some online  Protestant chapters in its past. Areas  quickly walked between the musi‐  (carrot shaped white radish, spiral  a few days. He had known Buffalo
 season of fasting that precedes  der of the day: a wonderful combi‐  as a gift. All have a fond memory at‐  joyed our musical performance. We
 show baking this item was probably  examples include “Fasnachtskuchle”  of modern-day Switzerland and  cians to refresh our drinks, even  cut) and other Bavarian foods, we  many years ago and found the new
 Easter. The suffix “le” indicates  nation of stewed prunes and apri‐  tached to them.  stayed overnight in Murau and per‐
 not out of reach financially for most  at  http://mbbreadtracker.blogspot  Austria are also likely candidates for  while we were playing. It was a great  washed it all down with these great  developments at Canalside very ex‐
 “small” or “little” in Swabian, a di‐  cots, accompanied by Rosie’s deli‐  formed for the village residents in
 German-speaking families in Buf‐  .com/2012/03/fasnachtskuchlefast‐  pre-Lenten baking of doughnuts  Frühschoppen (alcoholic drink be‐  beers. These Bierdeckelen bring  citing and Impressive.
 alect of southwestern Germany, that  cious fastnacht kuecheles. As usual,
 falo’s past. Note: My grandmother  nachtsdoughnutsfried.html, “Penn‐  such as Fastnacht Kuechles.  fore noon) event. But what I re‐  back these and more great memo‐  I believe my stamp and coin col‐
 acts like “chen” or “lein,” other  Rose was in the kitchen cooking the
 never wrote her recipe down that I  sylvania Dutch Fasnacht Dough‐  The influx of German immi‐  member most of all that made that  ries of these trips.  lecting to be fun and educational,
 grammatical diminutives, in Ger‐  goodies in hot oil, urging her guests
 am aware of. I believe this recipe  nuts”  at  https://beyondthebutter grants to Buffalo during the 1800s  oval piece of cardboard from Murau  Then there is the “Seven One Six  but my Bierdeckel collection is spe‐
 man words like “mädchen” or  to eat and drink until she had all the
 included immigrants from these ar‐  kuecheles fried and sugared. She  special to me was our first kiss there.  – 716” beer coaster from a Food and  cial in that with each piece it brings
 eas of Europe. A digital exhibit cre‐  took them in a brown paper bag for  Louise and I dated after that and got  Sport restaurant that closed several  back great memories that I cherish.
 ated by the Buffalo and Erie County  the sugaring and produced them at  married 2 years later. In 2023 we cel‐  years ago, previously owned by the  So, I can be called a tegestologist,
 Library under the auspices of New  the table almost too hot to handle.”  ebrated our 31 year of honeymoon‐  Pegulas that was located at Canal‐  but more importantly a sentimen‐
 York Heritage offers an excellent  From this elaborate description, we  ing. We still talk about those mazing  side, Buffalo, NY. This restaurant  talist. So, join me and collect a few
 overview of this German immigra‐  can surmise that Fastnacht Kuechles  beers, and also still disagree about  had TV screens everywhere, and  souvenirs of Bierdeckelen and enjoy
 tion to Buffalo called “Buffalo’s East  were considered an integral part of  who initiated that first great kiss!  one was the size of a movie theater  the great memories of people and
 Side Deutschtum” found at https://  the celebration.                 The next two Bierdeckelen are                            places that they can bring to you.  As with other manifestations of  from two different trips many years
 neighborhoods-exploring-our-mi‐  culture, the history of particular  apart to Germany and my visits to
 grant-immigrant-heritage/buffalos-  items of food can offer a fascinating  the brewery of Bräu im Moos,
 east-side. Through German immi‐  glimpse into the origins of an area’s  Bavaria. This was also in a very
 grants bringing their way of life at  local history. My hope is that Fast‐  small community, and this histori‐
 the time with them to Buffalo, we  nacht Kuechles will be remembered  cal brewery also had amazing beers,
 can see why Fastnacht Kuechles  in this way in Buffalo, New York.  and a great restaurant. For one of
 would have been commonly known
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