[Music] Hi, I’m Sherri Klassen, author of Menno-Nightcaps: Cocktails Inspired by that Odd Ethno-Religious Group You Keep Mistaking for the Amish, Quakers or Mormons.
Today, I’d like to point out that this is the only authentic mennonite cocktail book in existence – past, present, maybe even future. Who knows? At least past and present
This is authentic because I am actually an authentic Mennonite. I know I don’t look like what a lot of people think of as an authentic Mennonite; I’m not wearing a head covering, there’s no bonnet, I don’t have a horse and buggy.
I do actually have a little horse on my cocktail skewer here but there’s no buggy, um, so I don’t think that helps that way but I’m not actually that kind of Mennonite and I never was and neither were my parents or their parents or their parents or their parents and all of my ancestors were actually people who dressed very much like the their neighbours.
But that’s just because there are all sorts of different kinds of Mennonites
So. today I’m going to show you some proof that I’m actually an authentic Mennonite despite wearing sort of normal street clothes and not having a head covering or anything of that sort
So, there’s a couple different ways that I will show you. First of all, the main way, of course, to be a Mennonite is to attend a Mennonite Church. So right here, I can show you the church directory for the church that I attend in Toronto.
Now, they don’t give these away to just anybody! You really do need to be going to the church in order to get it. It’s all filled with people’s names and addresses and email addresses and I’m in there so that’s pretty good proof
Another thing that shows it is that I have not one but two Mennonite hymn books — we Mennonites — we like our hymns! I don’t have the most recent Mennonite hymn book. That one just came out this year accompanied by a huge fanfare. Mennonite twitter was all abuzz about this new hymnbook. I’m a little too frugal to have bought one myself and for some reason no one bought me one for Christmas but eventually I’m sure I’ll get one and then I will have three and be an even more Mennonite cocktail book writer.
Another thing: here is my copy of the Canadian Mennonite. This is the news magazine that they send to everybody who’s a member or even attends or even used to attend a church in the Conference of Mennonites of Canada. Here you can see my my name there on the bottom on the address label so it says Canadian Mennonite. Obviously I am a Canadian Mennonite so I get this.
But there’s another way to be a Mennonite as well it has to be what we call a cultural or ethnic Mennonite and that’s people who just historically have been Mennonite and I’m one of those too. So here we have my family tree — um I’m not going to show you all of it but what I showed you there is we actually go back to the 17th century. This is my father’s side of the family. His ancestors started off in the Netherlands and then moved to Prussia and then to Russia and then came over to Canada in about 1870.
My mother’s side of the family stayed a little longer in Russia. If you look over my left shoulder, see those paintings? Those paintings were done by my great uncle Henry B Pauls and they’re of his home and my grandmother’s home — my great-grandmother’s home really in Ukraine on the Island of Chortiza where they grew up before the Russian Revolution. If you happen to go by Conrad Grebel College (that’s the Mennonite College affiliated with the University of Waterloo, you will find many of his paintings. In fact, you really can’t swing a hymn book in Conrad Grebel College without hitting one of his paintings which I think makes it pretty Mennonite and it’s pretty Mennonite for me to have them on my walls as well.
Now there’s a third kind of Mennonite that isn’t talked about quite so much but I think the credentials are also equally important and that is people who are culinarily Mennonite. You know, we cook Mennonite foods. So, here I have a couple of Mennonite cookbooks. I have more than this but these are the ones I’m going to show you. Here’s the Mennonite Community Cookbook. This one comes out of Pennsylvania and has a lot of the Pennsylvania Dutch foods in it. It’s recently been called the grandmother of all Mennonite cookbooks.
There are people who will dispute this because there is also this other — I’m missing the cover on this because I’ve used it so much and this is called the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes. This is the title page. So, while this one has a lot of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, this one has a lot of Russian Mennonite recipes. Those are the two little ethnic groups that we have amongst the Mennonites. Now mostly I cook the Russian Mennonite foods but I’ll also cook some of the of the Mennonite Community Cookbook foods
I consider myself open-minded that way.
Now, in the 1970s another cookbook came out and this one took the Mennonite world by storm because not only did it have recipes it also starts with a 50 page sermon — really, I say sermon but you could call it a diatribe that’s telling off all of the people who love the foods that are in these recipe books — both of them — all the cakes and things and telling us more we should eat more lentils and things that are good for the earth. And there’s probably a point to that.
But one of the things that’s lacking from all of those cookbooks are cocktail recipes I like to think that my little book is remedying that.