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Weihnachtsmarkt here again and with it the Christmas season

By Myra Lee Adams Goff

Everyone on Sophie’s Hill is gearing up for the 22nd Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). This event at the Civic Center is Nov. 19, 20 and 21 and the biggest fund raiser that the Sophienburg Museum and Archives has.

A city is judged by how much pride it has in its history and traditions. The Sophienburg is the guardian of the archives which preserve the written history of the area through thousands of documents and photographs; the museum displays the history of the settlement from 1845 through the present with interesting artifacts of early life in New Braunfels.

For the last two years the Sophienburg has had a poster contest to advertise Weihnachtsmarkt and the winner this year was local artist Jane Mauldin. Mauldin presented a true New Braunfels interpretation of what she thought Weihnachtsmarkt represented. The poster depicts an aerial view of our Main Plaza with the decorated bandstand and the lit-up Comal County Courthouse in the background. Flying above the whole scene is Santa Claus in his sleigh and eight reindeer (no Rudolph). This aerial view poster, ready to frame, depicts two important icons here in downtown – the Gazebo and the Courthouse. The poster comes in two sizes and will be available at Sophie’s Shop during Weihnachtsmarkt.

In addition to a fabulous raffle, food, Santa Claus, there are 70 individual booths. It would be impossible for me to describe these unique booths, so I’m sticking to the Sophienburg’s own booth, Sophie’s Shop run by Nancy Classen. A real highlight sold there are the Inge Heirloom glass ornaments. For 400 years these ornaments have been hand blown in Germany. Some of the ornaments of adults and children have that same quality about their faces that the Hummel figurines have.

They do have the pickle ornament at Sophie’s Shop. That pickle ornament was not on the Christmas trees of the old settlers and it was just about 10 years ago that I ever heard of the pickle ornament. After doing some research I found that there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut explanation of the pickle’s meaning. One tradition is that the pickle was hidden in the Christmas tree branches and the first child who found it would get a special prize. Another interpretation is that a Bavarian who came to American to fight in the Civil War was captured by the Confederates and jailed. He convinced the jailer to bring him a pickle because he was starving. After being released, he exonerated the pickle by hanging an ornament on the tree in the jailer’s honor (a little farfetched if you ask me).

Remember the cookbook Guten Appetit? Sophie’s Shop will unveil its sixth publication of this book with a new cover, but a deliciously same inside. Did you know that when this book was first published in 1978, our executive director Linda Dietert was the director? I have chosen some recipes that you can’t do without.

First of all there is the Whiskey Habit Cure and Tape Worm Remedy. (Do people still have tapeworm?) Then there’s the Bed Bug Poison. That might be handy if you travel a lot. Then there’s the cure for everything – Camphor Whiskey. And let’s not forget the Hair Invigorator (I can’t really tell if you put it on your head or drink it).

To start your holidays, make Glistening Yuletide Punch and pour it over a block of ice (or drink the Hair Invigorator).  Then there are lots of recipes using herring. (I guess the Adams’ didn’t like herring because I have never eaten it). Next make some Klösse (simple dumplings). I love this one: Use a “half an eggshell of water”.

No more Spass about this book; let’s get to the real heart of a German Christmas- Zimtsterne, Lebkuchen, Makronen, Mandel Kränze, Nuss Plätzchen. What a treasure this book is!

Let’s kick off the Christmas season by going to Weihnachtsmarkt. See you there.

Weihnachtsmarkt, 1998. On the left is the late Sherri Ruben who was co-chairman of Weihnachtsmarkt 1989, 1990  and 1991. This year’s cookbook is dedicated to her memory. On the right is Jean Sacco, who has volunteered at Sophie’s Shop for many years.

Weihnachtsmarkt, 1998. On the left is the late Sherri Ruben who was co-chairman of Weihnachtsmarkt 1989, 1990 and 1991. This year’s cookbook is dedicated to her memory. On the right is Jean Sacco, who has volunteered at Sophie’s Shop for many years.