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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Great-Grandma Schwanke's Scalloped Corn

   This is my grandma's mom's recipe.  I never had the chance to meet her, but it sounds like Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Schwanke were great people.  Grandma says they didn't have much money, but they were always inviting people in anyway.  I will have to verify the facts, but there must have been a naval station near or in Kenosha where she grew up.  It sounds like if ever there was a sailor that needed something to eat or a place to stay, their door was always open.

    I am lucky enough to be the current holder of my Great-Grandma's china.  This doesn't seem like the kind of dinner that requires fine china, but it only seems right that I serve her recipe on her china!

Great Grandma Schwanke's Scalloped Corn


3 cups uncooked corn
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cracker crumbs
1 cup milk
(grandma likes to add some grated onion, but don't tell grandpa... he hates onions!)

  1. Combine corn, eggs and salt.
  2. Put half of the corn mixture in the bottom of a well greased baking dish (I used a 9x9 pan)
  3. Place half of the cracker crumbs on the corn
  4. Repeat layers and pour milk over the casserole
  5. It says to bake slowly for about 30 minutes.  I baked it at 350 F and it took about 35 minutes to firm up

Jaxon asked for thirds, so I would say it has 4 generations of fans!

A little Schwanke family history from a paper I wrote in college:

Margaret Billings and Raymond Schwanke fell in love and were married.  They had two daughters, both of whom they raised in Kenosha, WI.  Following his father's footsteps, Raymond was in charge of Kenosha's gardens.  During World War II, both Margaret and Raymond went to work in the war factories.  He tested bobcats and she sewed parachutes.  When Margaret's parents got older, they lived with their two daughters.  Money was tight as far as everyone was concerned, so one would live with their daughter Bea, and the other would live with Margaret and Raymond.  Occasionally they would switch back and forth, but they did not ever both live with the same daughter.
Both Maraget and Raymond's fathers were avid fishermen.  Raymond followed suit, so the girls often went on fishing trips with their grandpas and father.  Grandma said that each line would have three hooks, and sometimes they would get "triple-headers!" Many times they would get hundreds of fish and it would take hours to clean them.  It was worth it as the family (and some friends and neighbors) would feast on the delicious fish, cole slaw, potato salad, buttered bread, cakes and pies.  On special occassions the meals would be topped off with some homemade ice cream with everyone taking a turn cranking the handle.  This tradition was carried on with my dad's generation.  He has fond memories of going fishing with his grandpa Ray and cranking the handle in anticipation of the wonderful ice cream that was to come.  
One food the family loved to eat (that smelled even worse than the fish) was Pa's (what grandma called her grandpa Billings) homemade sauerkraut.  He made it in his daughter, Bea's, basement.  Grandma says it tastes wonderful, but she was sure glad that it "perked" at her aunt's house rather than her own!
Margaret Schwanke is attributed with introducing the "bag game" to the family.  Everyone gathers together all kinds of trinkets, some of which are more valuable (and serious) than others. The prizes were each put in a bag and placed in the center of the table.  Nobody knows what is in any of the bags.  Then, the family takes turns rolling dice.  If you roll a pair, you get to pick a bag from the table and roll again.  The bags are opened and the prizes are admired (or laughed at!)  When all of the bags are gone, a timer is set.  The dice are passed around once again, this time rolling a pair allows you to "steal" a prize from somebody else.  Many family gatherings have been punctuated by the playing of this game.  

Grandma... I think we should make some sauerkraut if you know how Pa did it.  Let's perk it at your house!


  1. I enjoy your recipes and the history behind them. It's a nice change from recipes that we normally find where the ingredients are listed and that's the end of the story. Thanks for sharing on Sunday's Best.

    1. Thank you! It has been fun going through some of the family history while making recipes my family has enjoyed for generations!

  2. What a great side dish! This looks sooo good! That's funny that your grandma would secretly add grated onion! I will probably be doing the same ;)

    1. Thank you! We have been enjoying it for generations! The funny thing is one of my mom's grandmas made something very similar. It must have been a popular recipe for that generation!

  3. What a delightful game. I think I will suggest it to my group when they all come visiting. My mother-in-law had a similar corn casserole recipe, but I didn't have it. I will be making this for a covered dish dinner very soon. Thanks!