Lois Wunschel's early cooking stands time test, travels well
Monday, October 11, 2010
Russ and Lois Wunschel recently celebrated Lois’s 80th birthday with a full compliment of family — including all five children, Dr. Steven Wunschel, Dave Wunschel, Kristine Elliott, Dee Ann Wunschel and Lori Elliott. This picture includes those five children and their families. In back (from left) are Jamie Cox, Leo Cox, Taylor Cox, Dr. Steven Wunschel, Austin Crouse, Joe Elliott, Finlay Elliott, Kristine Elliott, Dave Wunschel, Sharon Wunschel, S. Blair Elliott, Brendon Elliott, Lori Elliott, Andrea Elliott and Alyssa Elliott. In front (from left) are Madeline Wunschel, Beka Wunschel, Liza Wunschel, Sarah Taylor, Dee Ann Wunschel, Lois and Russ Wunschel, and Jacob Wunschel and Maya Wunschel.
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Lois Wunschel of Carroll’s 80th birthday on July 5 was something to celebrate and the Wunschel family do so in a grand way.
All 26 members of the Wunschel family made a trip to Carmel, Calif. This included Lois and husband, Russ, their children, spouses, and grandchildren. It was the first time the full group of extended family members were under one roof for a memorable get-together.
Each family stayed in rented homes or condos and came together for four fun-filled days visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Pebble Beach golf course, and Shell Beach. Carmel is a very special place for the Wunschel family. For 17 years, Russ and Lois owned a home in Carmel and looked forward to their extended vacations and time spent there with their children.
Lois has much experience cooking for a larger-than- average family. She and Russ raised five children. Oldest, Dee Ann Wunschel, is an attorney at Wunschel Law Firm in Carroll, taking full reign after father, Russ’s retirement. Dee’s daughter, Sarah Taylor, recently graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Early Childhood Development, and her son, Austin Crouse, is a junior at Carroll High School.
Son Dr. Steven Wunschel practices urology in Modesto, Calif. He and wife, Beka, have two daughters, Liza and Madeline.
The Wunschel’s son David Wunschel is a research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Lab and lives in Richland, Washington with his wife, Sharon, son, Jacob, and daughter, Maya.
Daughter Lori Elliott is a cardiac nurse and lives in Kansas City with husband, Blair, and two daughters, Alyssa and Andrea, and son, Brendan.
Russ and Lois’ youngest daughter Kristine Elliott, and her husband husband, Joe, and son, Finlay, split time between Ireland and Carmel.
Growing up in the Vinton, Iowa area, Lois, along with all other high school girls, was required to take Home Economics class. It was there she began cooking and sewing.
She still enjoys sewing, especially quilts. She loves to make quilts for family members to commemorate special occasions such as a new baby, high school graduation, or a wedding.
Lois also still likes to cook, but has had to tweak her cooking a bit through the years since husband, Russ, is lactose and gluten intolerant. She says she spends a lot of time in the Nutrition section at Hy-Vee shopping for ingredients. Instead of serving bread or pasta alongside a main dish, she often serves a baked potato instead.
She also says the Taste of Home magazine and cookbooks have been a big help to her. She is sure to buy the annual cookbook each year and says she loves the ideas and suggestions. She also appreciates that most of the recipes also show a photo of the finished product.
Baked Bean Casserole
This dish is full of hearty ingredients. It also packs a slightly sweet taste with the addition of brown sugar and maple syrup. Lois says this is a good way to use up hamburger. She also says she often freezes half of it to eat at a later time. Husband, Russ, often requests this casserole for dinner.
1 lb hamburger
½ stick margarine or butter
2 onions (chopped)
2 cans pork and beans
3 cans ranch style beans
¼ c. prepared mustard
1 c. brown sugar
¼ c. maple syrup
1 c. ketchup
Lightly brown meat and onions in margarine or butter. Mix together with all other ingredients and bake slowly in a casserole dish at 300 degrees for 2 hours or simmer slowly on top of stove.
Apples – A Main Dish
Most may not think of apples as a main dish, but Lois has a way serve them up in a sweet and savory way. This dish is especially well-liked by children. Even her granddaughter, Sarah Taylor, a recent college grad, still requests for her grandma to make when she comes for dinner. Lois’s kids also asked for this dish as children. Lois says this is an inexpensive and fairly quick main dish. It has short preparation time, perfect for busy families.
3 T. margarine or butter
1-2 T. prepared mustard
¾ c. light corn syrup
1lb. hot dogs (I use Ball Park Franks)
5 medium sized tart apples (pared and sliced)
Melt margarine or butter in skillet, whisk in mustard, and add corn syrup. Add sliced apples and cook. Add hot dogs slashed in 3 places, but not all the way through. Simmer. Cover over low heat for 10-15 minutes until apples are tender and cooked through. Turn apples once to glaze.
Lois was given this recipe years ago by her friend, Ann Schulz, of Carroll. She says it’s the best cucumber salad she’s ever tasted. She loves the taste of fresh cucumbers and this is a superb way to showcase that fresh taste. Lois says this keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.
4 large cucumbers (sliced and unpeeled)
1 large onion (sliced)
1 ½ c. salad dressing or mayonnaise
½ c. sugar
salt and pepper
Whisk together salad dressing, sugar, salt and pepper. Add enough vinegar to make a pourable consistency. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Cover and let sit overnight.
Lemon Meringue Pie
Lois learned to make this particular pie over 60 years ago in her high school Home Economics class and the recipe has withstood the test of time. She says this recipe works particularly well because the pie doesn’t shrink away from the edge of the pie and the finished pie doesn’t collapse at the final stage of cooking. Russ enjoys the pie too, minus the crust.
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
Filling: 1-2/3 to 3/4 c. sugar
1/3 to 1/2 c. cornstarch
2. c. cold water
Cook over medium heat until clear.
Add: 3 beaten egg yolks, one at a time
¼ t. salt
2 T. butter
Cook 2 minutes until thick. Add 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice and l to l ½ t. of lemon rind. Mix well and place in baked pie crust.
Meringue (will not weep)
½ c. cold water
2 T. sugar
1T. corn starch
Cook until thick.
Then in a mixing bowl, beat 3 egg whites until frothy and add 4 T. sugar, one tablespoon at a time until soft peaks form. Then add cooked mixture and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Place on top of lemon filling and bake until lightly brown at 350 degrees - about 5 minutes.