Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Ma" Young's Rye Bread


Having never been a Gustie (a student or alumnus who hails from Gustavus Aldophus College) I'd never heard of "Ma Young's Rye Bread" until last month as we were preparing for the Nelson Cultural Center opening at the American Swedish Institute. Gustavus now hosts a suite within the Cultural Center, and their presence is a welcome addition to Minneapolis. But, back to the bread...

Evelyn "Ma" Young's Rye Bread was a dorm cafeteria favorite for years, and continues to be a cultural link between alumni and the school. (That is one of my favorite things about food - it connects us to the past, allows us to celebrate the present, and provides hope for the future.) After talking to half a dozen Gusties at the Cultural Center opening, their enthusiasm for the rye helped me to decide on a two loaf purchase. We finished the first loaf within three days. The second loaf I froze, then pulled out this week to serve at my monthly writers group.

How was it? It is sweet and dense. It pairs great with mayo and fresh tomatoes, or simply toasted with butter. There wasn't enough for experimenting with peanut butter (we ate it too fast) but this bread is so versatile I think it would be a worthy mate to just about any topping. The best way we ate Ma's Rye was as open-faced sandwiches covered in layers of thin sliced cucumbers, radishes, shrimps, eggs, etc.

Smörgås med Rädisa (Open-face Sandwich with Radish)
3 ounces cream cheese, room temp
3 ounces butter, room temp
2 tablespoons chives, dill, or other fresh herbs, plus more for garnish if desired
A bunch of radishes, sliced thin
Coarse salt
Rye bread, slice thin

Combine cheese, butter, and herbs; spread over bread and layer with radish. Garnish with a bit of salt and herbs.

Note: how often does a Lunch Lady rise to hallowed cult status? I found this link to Ma' cookbook on Amazon. If you are lucky they might have "All This and Rye Bread Too" at your local library. 

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