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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Sometimes you give when you take

November 13, 2006

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. The last half hour of the show I heard on the car radio as Mr. Sundberg and I were on our way to dinner out (at long last) at a German restaurant not too far from home. On the way we picked up a friend, the veterinarian in town, a kind man who lost his wife a few years back. He's a joke teller and a giving man who sends money when he can to a family out in the Dakotas whom he met on one of his motorcycle trips to clear his mind.

A German restaurant is its own little adventure. I'll confess I didn't eat much for lunch on Saturday knowing what the evening held in store. The meal began with a basket of rye breads and butter, a plate of herring and vegetables, and a pile of fried bread dumplings and ranch dressing to dunk 'em in. German salads followed — light on the lettuce, heavy on the pasta and deviled eggs and beets. Then platters of rahm putenschnitzel, wienerschnitzel in a peppercorn sauce (Mr. Sundberg's favorite), and the Vet ordered roast pork sliced thin with extra beets on the side. There were steamed potato dumplings and potatoes au gratin and pickled red cabbage and more gravies.

It was a decadent evening, really. Not only the food, but being served instead of doing the serving. Sometimes it's nice to sit back and let someone else do the running, even if you have to pay for it. The waitress' name was Rosie and she wore a bun right on top of her head and a black frock with flowers and a white apron and white shoes, and gosh, did she bustle about. It's nice to sit back and listen, too, which is what Mr. Sundberg and I did for most of the evening. The Vet had stories to tell, and tell stories he did. He served in the Vietnam War, you see, and being that Saturday was Veteran's Day, he was feeling a bit sentimental. He talked about how there's so much he can't talk about. And he told us about the pile of thank you letters he received from the kids over at the elementary school, and how moved he was and how war is a terrible thing and how, for every man or woman who died in that war, there were two or three injured, some horribly so.

Well, there was a moment when he let out a big sigh and motioned for Rosie to bring the dessert tray. The Vet ordered Black Forest cake and pecan pie and German Chocolate cake to share, with coffee, black. And then he added a slice of strudel to the list. "Dinner is on me," he said, and when we protested, he said, "Please."

The Vet left a hefty tip, and Rosie waved from the window as we drove away. He told jokes the whole way home, and we laughed, and as he got out of the car, he thanked us for the evening. "Let's do this again soon," he said, and we said, Of course. You know, sometimes you give when you take, a blessing we all ought to consider.

This year we're spending Thanksgiving at my parents' in Owatonna, and I'm going to shoot for something different. This dessert is easy. The only difficult thing is deciding which flavor of pudding to use. I'm thinking chocolate this time around.

Layered Pudding Dessert

Crust: 1-1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup crushed nuts (or oatmeal),
1 1/2 sticks softened butter. Cut with fork until evenly mixed/crumbly.
Press into 9 X 13 cake pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350.

Layer 1: mix 8 oz. plus 3 oz. cream cheese with 1 c. white sugar.
Add 1 cup Cool Whip. Mix. Spread over cooled crust.

Layer 2: mix 2 small packages instant pudding
(chocolate, lemon, or pistachio). Use about 1/2 the milk required on package
(for greater thickness). Spread over cream cheese layer.

Spread Cool Whip over pudding, as much as you'd like.
You'll probably use a 16 oz container for the entire dessert.
Sprinkle with nuts if you like.

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