Mom, grandmas tested Steph before she cooked on her own
By Sandy Bond
A real renaissance girl, Stephanieanie Melcher embraces life with pizzazz.
She’s equally comfortable with either a frilly apron or carpenter’s apron atop a pair of jeans, ballet flats or boots, lamb’s wool vest or camouflage hunting vest, and with flour or sheetrock dust on her nose. In her career as a customer service representative and teller at Dacotah Bank, she is impeccably dressed in the latest style.
“My only concession to being a girly girl is clean fingernails,” she said. “Even as a child, I made mud pies with a spoon!”
No matter the attire, she always wears an engaging smile.
The oldest daughter of Mark and Cindy Melcher, Stephanie was born in Minneapolis, Minn. Perpetually punctual, she was born early while her mom and dad were attending an agricultural convention in the Twin Cities.
Stephanie, 25, and Sarah (Schily), 22, grew up in Java where their dad followed in his father Merlyn’s footsteps, as manager of North Central Farmers Elevator.
“I remember an idyllic childhood,” she said. “Sarah and I could ride our bikes across town to visit Grandpa Merlyn and Grandma Lucy Melcher. She knew her bean soup was my absolute favorite and we’d often just drop in for lunch.”
Her maternal grandparents, Darlys and Meiny Schock lived in Underwood, N.D.
Darlys was also a phenomenal cook and knew Stephanie loved everything chocolate.
“That’s why I love living in Glenham so much,” she said. “It’s small town living. James (Fiddler) and I love just dropping by for supper at his mom Judy’s house; she’s is an incredible cook.”
In the seventh grade the Melcher family moved to Mobridge. Mark is manager at Wheat Growers in McLaughlin. Cindy, formerly employed by the Chamber of Commerce, is a graphic artist and circulation manager at the Mobridge Tribune.
Stephanie graduated from Mobridge High School in 2005.
“I always loved numbers and math,” she said.
Graduating from Northern State University in Aberdeen in 2009 with a double major in business and marketing, she found the perfect job for her with Dacotah Bank.
“I love everything about the job including my Dacotah Bank family,” she said.
Although mud pies might have been her first cooking experience, she learned a lot about cooking and baking from the best: her mom and her two grandmoms.
She learned initially by watching, assisting, submitting recipes to her grandmothers for their approval as a pre-teen, and was finally given the go-ahead to go solo. As her mom worked outside the home, by the age of 12 she was helping to start meals by herself.
“My grandma Darlys and I used to make kuchen, a dozen at a time,” she said.
Grandma Lucy always had wonderful chocolaty treats including crackers with peanut butter in the middle dipped in chocolate almond bark, which she washed down with milk from her Ninja Turtle mug.
“Grandma Darlys also is an incredible craftsperson,” she said, “making tons of quilts and crocheting little roses on each block.”
Although she aspired to learn how to crochet, the closest she got was acquiring the crochet hooks, she conceded.
“Grandma Darlys must have a green thumb because I remember helping her water lots of flowers,” she said. “For years I felt I was blessed with a brown thumb because I seemed to kill everything. But recently my mom gave me a plant with lovely pink flowers, and it’s still alive. “
Her grandparents also instilled a love of good old polka music.
“Grandma Darlys and I watch Molly B’s Polka Party on cable television,” she said. “Any time I hear polka music it brings back memories of my late Grandpa Meiny.
“One of my earliest and dearest memories was visiting Grandpa Meiny in Underwood,” she said. “He had left some duck decoys on the lawn. I brought them in the house, bathed them, dried them, and proudly set them up in the living room. When Grandma Darlys came home from work, the ducks and I were watching television together.”
Stephanie is also becoming a great shot far afield under James’ and her dad’s tutelage. As the leaves turn golden and the weather, cool, Stephanie’s thoughts turn to hunting.
Today she has her own 20-gauge Remington Express shotgun and Remington Super Short Mag. rifle, and fishing pole and tackle box for fishing and ice fishing.
Besides good polka music she enjoys listening to upbeat country music with artists like George Strait and Garth Brooks, current artists Creed and Nickelback and sometimes, hip-hop.
She loves NASCAR and cheers for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., while James cheers for his rival, Kyle Bush.
STEPHANIE MELCHER’S RECIPES
Grandma Lucy’s Sour Cream Banana Bread
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs, well beaten
2 or 3 ripe bananas
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon soda
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup nutmeats, finely chopped
Mix in order given. Bake at 350 degrees oven for 1 hour or until done. For something different, add 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups shortening
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large pkg. chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Combine sugars, shortening and eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, soda and salt. Add all together with chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. This recipe makes a large batch of cookies.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pizza
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups flour
6 oz. package milk chocolate chips (approximately 1 cup)
Combine sugar, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and egg. Add flour and press into a 12 or 14 oz. inch pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chips and bake again for 5 to 8 minutes. Cool and cut. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes approximately 20 servings.