Local retired teacher Mark Reimer has spent his retirement days reconnecting with his Mennonite heritage. Not only has he written his debut novel The Four Horsemen, which follows the long-standing Mennonite literary tradition of writing angsty thinly-veiled autobiographies, but he’s also gotten back into baking peppernuts aka päpanät. This reconnection with his heritage has not been without its difficulties, however.
“I had the spices and texture just right,” said Reimer. “The päpanät were all going just fine but then, of course, my nephew Greg had to haul out the old crokinole board and the next thing you know the kjnipsers and päpanät were all mixed up and we didn’t know which was which.”
Reimer and company spent all afternoon consuming päpanät and flicking small wooden disks, but the proximity of the two caused some unexpected challenges.
“I scored five twenties in a row before realizing I was shooting with a peppernut,” said Reimer. “According to the cousins, none of those points count if you’re shooting with päpanät. We come from Kleine Gemeinde stock so, of course, we’re real sticklers on the rules. But I think everyone should just be glad I’m not shooting with ammonia cookies.”
The mix-up was quickly discovered when nephew Greg bit right into a rock-solid wooden kjnipser.
“Ugh, these päpanät are a little firmer than usual, aren’t they, Mark?” wondered Greg. “And I’m not even getting a hint of anise.”
The family concluded that Mark must have gotten his recipe mixed up with those German pfeffernusse or something as there was no way these päpanät were following the recipe from the Mennonite Treasury cookbook.