The Suitcase Lady


February 2, 2021, 8:55 am

Whether you call them schnecken, schnecke or schnecks, they are delicious. These are the names Midwesterners of German origin give to what others refer to as sweet rolls or Danish.

The name schneck is most apropos. “Schnecke” is the German word for snail, and these pastries are curled up in a spiral just like giant snails. My childhood was filled with schnecks as well as many other sweet treats. Our town was dotted with home bakeries and my father had an active sweet tooth. Our family’s first stop after Sunday mass was always a bakery.

Photo: Wikipedia

Some of my friends’ parents were even more serious about having bakery security. They would get up in the wee small hours of Sunday morning to buy their breakfast treats at the back door of a bakery that started selling their products as soon as they left the oven.

Looking back on my childhood and teen years, I was not lacking for sugar. My dad supplemented the schnecks with cream=filled, streusel=topped coffee cakes and potica (poh TEET sah), a nut and cinnamon filled roll that resembles snails when cut.

Potica. Photo: Wikipedia

With adulthood came the realization that bakery products were not staples of the diet, essential food items. But this is not to say I don’t indulge. I do believe in the pleasures of the senses. And when I do splurge, my ultimate treat in the pastry department is no longer a schneck or a cruller (aka “crawler”). I will always pick the pain raisin, that delectable, flaky French puff pastry. It’s shaped exactly like a snail, which is why the French have a second name for it…escargot.

Photo: Wikipedia

1 Comment for this entry

  • Linda & Jim Haack, Racine

    Nothing like a cafe au lait and a flaky pastry while sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Paris, watching the world walk by. But until we can get back there, I’ll settle for some of Racine’s finest with a cup of Wilson’s coffee.