Vici Eader has a modern kitchen with electric appliances, but many of her favorite recipes go back to the 1800s.
She recently whipped up an apfelstrudel (apple strudel) that originated with German immigrants.
"You roll the dough out real thin," said Vici, 56, of Maeystown. "The old recipes say it should be thin enough that you can read a newspaper through it."
Vici wrapped the dough around a filling of apples, raisins, slivered almonds and Maeystown Preservation Society apple butter.
"It's very good and spicy," she said. "It has anise, cinnamon, sugar and apples. They cook it outside in kettles, and then it's canned at the mill."
Vici and her husband, Kevin Eader, own Vici's Front Porch and Tea Garden, a new restaurant on the first floor of an 1892 home in Maeystown.
They will serve apfelstrudel today, along with Weihnacht (Christmas) stew, krautsalat (sauerkraut salad), brot (bread), tea and kaffee (coffee) for $12.
The special menu is being offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of Maeystown's Old Fashioned German Christmas celebration.
"Anytime Maeystown hosts an event -- Fruehlingsfest in the spring, Oktoberfest in the fall (and others) -- we're open," Vici said.
The restaurant also operates some Saturdays. Visitors can call 618-539-3665 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to check dates.
On a recent Saturday, the preset menu included pumpkin bisque, quiche Lorraine, apple bread and chocolate fudge cake or orange dream cake.
"It's one price ($12 to $15), and it's all inclusive," Vici said. "Usually, we serve raspberry tea and coffee, and we do a hot-mulled cider during the winter months."
The restaurant also hosts private meetings and parties. Reservation-only Christmas candlelight dinners will begin Dec. 8 for $30 per person with dates determined by demand.
The two-story, white frame home with green shutters was built by Jacob Miller, a "tinner" or sheet-metal worker. One of his stoves is displayed in Maeystown's Rock Mill Museum.
"They found his original sign when they restored the home," Vici said. "His favorite thing to do was make tin cookie cutters."
The Eaders opened the restaurant in October. They formerly operated His Rest Bed and Breakfast in Freeburg for seven years, but it got to be a little too much.
Vici also cooks for a Millstadt day care center, and Kevin is semi-retired as a union carpenter for a roofing company. They live above the restaurant.
"I'm the maintenance man, I guess," said Kevin, 56, who renovated the bathroom and kitchen.
Vici's Front Porch and Tea Garden seats about 20 people at wrought-iron tables. It's filled with lace curtains and antiques, including a wooden cash register and wall phone, a Hoosier hutch that belonged to Kevin's mother and an Empire stove made in Belleville.
Operating the bed and breakfast and now the restaurant has fulfilled dreams that started for Vici 21 years ago.
"We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Elsah on our honeymoon night," Kevin said. "She fell in love with it, and she knew that's what she wanted to do."
At a glance
What: Vici's Front Porch and Tea Garden
Where: 109 Mill St. in Maeystown
Hours: Open to the public during Maeystown special events, some Saturdays and for Christmas candlelight dinners beginning Dec. 8; also available for private meetings and parties.
Handicap accessible: Yes
Information: Call 618-539-
3665 or e-mail email@example.com
Maeystown Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)
Basic strudel dough:
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons oil
2/3 cup water
Pinch of salt
Melted butter to brush onto the dough (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup golden raisins soaked in 4 tablespoons orange juice
2/3 cup slivered almonds, divided
5 to 6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons lemon juice (one lemon)
4 tablespoons Maeystown Apple Butter
1/2 cup milk
2 to 3 tablespoons baking sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix apples, sugar and lemon zest and juice and stir. Add raisins in orange juice.
Knead flour and oil together. Slowly add water and salt to make a smooth (not sticky) dough.
Form dough into two balls, lightly add oil to the top and cover with plastic wrap to sit for 30 minutes on counter.
Roll out dough balls one at a time on parchment paper using plenty of flour to keep them from sticking.
Flip dough over using tea towel and parchment paper. Gently roll to a thin consistency and brush with melted butter.
Drain and divide apple and raisin mixture. Top dough with half of the mixture along with half the almonds for each strudel.
Spread two tablespoons of homemade Maeystown Apple Butter on each strudel.
Fold over one end of dough, brush with melted butter, fold over other end and brush with melted butter
Tuck ends under. Carefully roll dough onto baking pan lined with parchment paper, seam side down, and bake 20 minutes.
Brush dough with milk and sugar topping and return to the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and spread with melted butter and cinnamon cream sauce or powdered sugar. Slice and enjoy!