After the excitement of Christmas - the concerts, the gatherings and the presents, our family life would sort of settle down to normal routine. There was time in the cold winter weather to invite guests to visit and play table - board games. Mom would usually make the Portzelky on the day before New Years. It was usually a family project and we only made them at New Years. They were special. Mom’s kitchen was small, but the 5 of us children would gather round the kitchen table and would “help” mix the batter -- then we would wait with anticipation for the dough to rise and then the excitement of frying the fritters. We were cautioned to not go too near the pot on the stove which had the hot oil/fat in it. When Mom fried the first few we were excited to “taste” them. We had a little bowl of sugar on the table and then dunked our fritteer in for each bite. Mmm - good. I can still taste that first fritter!
In my husband’s family Portzelky were also only made at New Years. In his family they had a low german poem that they would say. It went like this:
“Ek sach yoon Schursteen rookin (I saw your chimney smoke)
Ek wist vull vowat yee moakin (I knew well what you were making)
Scheine Nee Yoat koake (Delicious New Year fritters)
Yave wee mee une dahn shtoh ek schtell (Give me one I’ll stand still)
Yave yee mee twi dahn fang ek own tow gohnen (Give me 2 I’ll start walking)
Yave mee drei en feiah touglick (If you give me three and four together
Dahn vensch ek yoo dowt Himmelrick I’ll wish you the riches of Heaven)
1 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup warm water 1 Tbsp butter
1 pkg dry yeast 4 eggs, beaten
3 cups water 2 - 4 cups raisins, as desired
3 cups milk Flour
1/2 cup sugar
Dissolve 1 tsp. sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Sprinkle 1 package dry yeast on water and let stand 10 minutes. Add water, milk, sugar, salt, butter, eggs and raisins. Stir in enough flour to make a fairly thick batter. Let rise until double in bulk. Drop by spoonfuls in hot, deep oil and fry until golden brown.
Over the years we have learned so much about nutrition and “what’s good for us”. We know deep fried food is not the most healthy - but I tend to think that moderation is a good way to go. Perhaps Portzelky once a year are O.K.!!