Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Dee Bryson
Gazette Columnist 

My Favorite Recipes: Meet Johanna Keller-Tersch


August 30, 2018 | View PDF

Johanna Keller-Tersch

Johanna Keller-Tersch at Elk Creek Falls in Elk River, Idaho.

Johanna was born and raised in Wolfsburg, Germany, a city that is well-known for having the largest Volkswagen manufacturing plant in the world. She has only called the Palouse region home for the last two weeks. Johanna applied to be part of a foreign exchange program, and while she was able to pick a very general location such as the western part of the United States, she was surprised to see her assignment was to come to a small farming community like Colfax. Johanna is quick to smile while relaying that "every exchange student hopes to go to California," but she is settling in and enjoying the generosity and warmth of the people on the Palouse. Johanna will be attending Colfax High School for the 2018-2019 school year. While her school at home consists of more than 1,200 students, in contrast, CHS has fewer than 100 students per grade level. The size difference has not been the only factor that has caught Jo by surprise. The kindness and hospitality she has experienced has been remarkable, she said.

Colfax has welcomed many foreign exchange students over the years, however Johanna is the first to be considered and accepted for cheerleading after trying out online. Johanna enjoyed competing in international dance competitions with her dance team in Germany and is looking forward to the learning curve and challenges that cheerleading will introduce her to. Aside from her missing her family and experiencing some homesickness, which is expected in such a situation, Jo said she is challenged by the constant mental strain of interpreting and translating everything from her primary language of German to English. Improving her fluency in English was part of the reason that Johanna wanted to complete an exchange program. She also looked forward to meeting new people, seeing new places and experiencing an entirely different culture.

While Johanna is adjusting quite well to her new environment, there are a few things she finds peculiar, such as the sweetness of the bread. She grinned while relaying that she thinks that American bread is more like cake, "especially the kind of bread with blueberries in it." Jo also said the general consumption of meat has been a little astonishing as well. She continued, "while my family is not vegan, we might eat meat two or three times a week instead of daily." Overall, Jo shared that, in Germany, her family often enjoys similar foods such as pastas, curries, burritos, as well as other forms of Mexican food and, of course, pizza. Even though Johanna has been fortunate enough to travel to the U.S. with her family on vacation in the past, some things like the cookie aisle at Walmart still cause her to stand in awe and snap pictures to send home to friends. With a grin and light in her eye, Jo expressed that next to the friendliness of the community, her favorite thing about America is our sense of American pride and the Reese's Pieces.


Easy German Spaetzle Dumplings

Makes six servings.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 pinch white pepper, freshly ground

1/2 tsp. salt

1 gallon hot water

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Mix together flour, salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Beat eggs well, and add alternately with the milk to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Press dough through spaetzle maker, or a large holed sieve or metal grater.

Drop a few at a time into simmering liquid. Cook five to eight minutes. Drain well.

Sauté cooked spaetzle in butter or margarine. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top and serve.


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