A kuchen (cake in German) contest is a long Seideman Family Reunion tradition. Everyone is invited to donate cakes for judging and then for auction. Cakes are numbered (this year in German) for the judges who do not know whose handiwork they’re sampling. A small corner is removed from each cake and judges sample. With 10 to 15 cakes, only a small taste is necessary.
As a judging veteran of two contests, I can say that it is a fun, albeit confounding experience. My first time, a number of years ago, included cakes that were heavy on the Cool Whip.
The 1st prize, gold winner of the Seideman Family Reunion Kuchen (cake) Contest, a blueberry tart, brought $225 in an auction that raised $840 for a total of 14 cakes.
The judging sheet used for judging the Kuchen Contest. Judging is done on a 1-10 scale of appearance, taste and texture. Total high points is the winner.
This year while dominated by berry creations, apple kuchens won the top two prizes. First prize winner, Maggie Seideman’s Old Fashion Apfel Kuchen, was judged (by obvious descendants of Germans) as tasting just like what our mothers/grandmothers made. It was a lovely moment of déjà vu.
The climax of a long, joyous reunion day and after a talent show, comes the announcement of kuchen contest winners. Then cakes, minus what the judges ate, are auctioned. In other words, second hand, slightly used treats. Bidding is lively and includes all ages. Even kids get into the fun of bidding; usually after getting permission from their parents. The fun for kids is that some cakes bring high bids. In fact, Maggie’s cake raised $82. The total raised from the auction was $568, $350 of which was from the kuchens. The best part of the auction is that winners gets hands full of forks and paper plates and pass their cakes; a tasty win-win situation and a lot of family sharing. EW
Reunion sweets Want to send a “melt-in-your-mouth” message to your next reunion?
Customized M&Ms® are the newest in the “personalization” craze. The company that makes the milk chocolate bits introduced a line called “My M&Ms” that allows customers to personalize their candy by creating a word or short phrase that can be printed on each piece.
I decided to try this for our ALAFFFA Family Reunion and found the convenient web site ordering feature at http://shop.mms.com/customized/printing/step1.asp, by phone 888-696-6788. The first step was to choose candy colors from among 21 colors of pre-selected blends for the outer shell. I selected the “Party Blend (White, Red, Orange, Yellow and Green) and seasonal “Spring into Summer Blend (Dark Pink, Electric Green, Yellow & Aqua). Next, you write your message. The message, using eight characters or less per line, must fit on two lines (appropriate language only; no business, product, celebrity names, etc.). There are examples of the “Right” and “Wrong” ways to set up your personalized candies. I used two different messages. The first, “ALAFFFA You Bet” echoed the “Casino” theme of our 38th annual reunion. The second message, “Surf’s Up!” is an ALAFFFA tradition where everyone stands in a circle with a shot glass filled with a favorite beverage and does the wave to “Wipe Out” or similar beach music.
An 8-ounce bag of personalized candy costs $9.49 plus shipping and handling; minimum four bag order. Gift bags or tins are also available for an extra charge.
As conversation starters or fun treats, the personalized candies can surely sweeten up your next reunion!
Reported by Lisa A. Alzo, Ithaca, New York.
Make it, bake it, buy it, grow it by Deb Bowen
Everybody at the Sylvester Family Reunion brings a raffle item. Each item is set out on a table with a cup in front of it. Everyone buys tickets to drop in any cup or all in one cup, depending on what they hope to win. We had about 30 items and earned $500 to defray reunion expenses.
We sold tickets to family at $1 apiece and advertised a special of 25 tickets for $20; so, of course, most everybody but the kids bought $20 worth of tickets. One side of the ticket goes in the cup of the item you want to win (or put 20 tickets in 1 cup if you really want that item) and keep the other. After dinner, the fabric lid and rubber band were removed and tickets from that item dumped into a bowl where one winner was drawn, the number called out and the winner claimed the item. Everybody had fun and it promoted many conversations! Great fun! And necessary to help offset expenses!
Items contributed include family heirlooms; color copies of the family photograph/directory booklet which everyone got in black and white; set of holiday pillowcases; sundae dishes filled with little candy bars and a straw; large loaves of bread made from our grandmother's family recipe with the recipe attached; signed footballs from a pro football family member; decorated flower pots with growing flowers; t-shirts; local souvenir items from the reunion city; and many other interesting items — whatever one could think of that was MADE, BAKED, BOUGHT OR GROWN.
The auction was easy, fun and inexpensive. And it raised good sums for the reunion and the next reunion's seed money. We're doing it again this year!
Reported by Deb Bowen, Burlington, Iowa.
Sweet treats to eat
Food is an integral part of any reunion. Planners agonize over whether to cater, potluck or eat out. Members struggle over which potluck favorite to bring a scrumptious salad or delectable dessert. Diners calculate how much their plate can hold and decide what they need to sample first before it disappears and what can wait for a second trip! To keep members satiated between meals, three companies Candy, Candy, Candy, Inc., Carson Enterprises, Inc. and GiftCatalog.com offer unique sweets.
Carson Enterprises, Inc. offers custom-wrapped Hersheys® chocolate bars in 5 sizes standard Hersheys bar, miniature, 4 ounces, 7 ounces or 5 pound! Print a wrapper with your family crest, military or school logo, place and date of your reunion, or include your family motto or military or class slogan maybe even a picture of your ancestors, battleship or high school. After eating the chocolate, save the wrappers as a keepsake for your reunion scrapbook. View Carson Enterprises six standard reunion designs at www.ejcarson.com or get ideas from what others have done. Prices vary, depending on whether you provide your own artwork and size and quantity ordered. Original artwork can be accepted as a hard copy or digitally via e-mail. Expect at least 10 business days between order and delivery. In temperatures over 70Û, candy is shipped in coolers to preserve the chocolates quality. Carson also customizes labels for bubbles a great reunion activity for kids and kids-at-heart.
Wireless®, a catalog and part of the GiftCatalog.com web site, also offers currently-manufactured nostalgic candy. The limited variety of items including Nut Goodies® and Nik-L-Nips®can be viewed at GiftCatalog.com, under the Wireless tab, click on "Sweet Treats." All are available in boxed or packaged quantities only at the prices shown with pictures of each product.
Joyce E. Walters reports that for the Cazy-Smith Family Reunion in Chicago, they prepared souvenir packets including a family booklet and directory, family tree, ancestor profiles, a fan in the shape of a cowboy hat, pencils, notepads, magnets, Texas mugs, lotion and perfume samples, map of the city and local activities.
The Potter Family Reunion theme in Wisconsin was cows which proved great fun from newsletters through reunion goodies. The state tourism office provided notepads and pencils with (what else?) cow images. There were cow erasers, stickers, toys and images everywhere. To keep with the theme some items had to be purchased but with an eye on sales. Family and friends stood in line for the "limit one to a customer" stuffed cows for $1.99 each and got just enough for the grandchildren.
Lots of things for kids' goody bags can be found in stores that carry party goods for childrens birthdays. Include games and crafts that provide kids with activities even while they are still at the reunion. Include coloring books, crayons, colored markers and pencils, small, simple models, small individual games and games that can be played by many, balloons and stickers.
Don't forget all the little samples and trinkets you receive or can pick up throughout the year. Establish a box or bag just to keep this collection, then raid it for your reunion. We have a (adult) friend who prefers one fast food restaurant's kids' meals and collects the toys throughout the year.