Shine on Harvest Moon | Zehnder's of Frankenmuth

Shine on Harvest Moon

By Executive Chef John Zehnder, CEC, ACE, HGT, AAC

Some like summer, but my favorite time of the year is autumn! The hot muggy days of summer are just a memory and the spectacular colors of fall begin to appear almost overnight. September’s full moon – The Harvest Moon – will take place on September 19th. The Harvest Moon is different than all of the other full moons in that it appears brighter and lasts for two or three days. In the past, farmers used the bright moon light of the Harvest Moon to extend harvesting crops well into the evening. Full moons also come with a certain amount of superstition and the early Frankenmuth Bavarian settlers had their share of scary stories in which full moons played a role.


My father, Herman Zehnder, was the family historian, and loved to retell these – passed down three generations – creepy stories. One in particular comes to mind when I think of a full moon…

The Cat and the Fiddle
The full moon shone bright as Fritz left the local bier garten and stumbled home. His home wasn’t that far so most often he walked which helped to sober him up. With the bright moon, Fritz decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery, something he normally didn’t do on moonless nights. About half way through the cemetery Fritz noticed a lantern burning brightly in the caretaker’s shed. Slowly Fritz approached and as he did the musical sound of a fiddle came from the shed. Peering into the window, Fritz saw a big black cat playing the most beautiful music he had ever heard. Suddenly the cat, seeing Fritz in the window, stopped playing and ran out of the shed, leaving the fiddle behind. Fritz grabbed up the fiddle, thinking to himself that no one would believe what he had seen, but with the fiddle he had proof. He quickly ran home, put the fiddle under his pillow for safekeeping and fell sound asleep. Fritz woke up early the next morning still all excited about what happened, confident that people would believe him because he had the fiddle to prove his story. But…as he lifted up his pillow all that he saw was an old dirty cow bone.

A Perfect Fall Dessert and It Smells So Good While It’s Baking! We suggest the Heirloom Applesauce Cake recipe from the 1920’s that as good today as it was back then. Click here to purchase the recipe within Zehnder’s Most Iconic Recipe Cookbook.