There was a town of heroes, and in them was a great love between a man and wife.
Eirik and his love, Vibike, were called to battle. But Eirik had been taken I'll by the slow death. His breath took him first, then his legs, and soon his sight. He had to stop working as the town butcher.
So she would go for them both in the militia from their village.
Eirik wanted to go with her in spirit, so on the night before they marched on, he baked her favorite cookie recipe. At the last minute, he decided to throw in his best cured meats.
He called them his Machen Bachen for her.
Vivica grabbed the tin of cookies and kissed him farewell. She didn't take them out, as they had their rations and she felt silly about it. They were a silly cookie, and this was war.
She marched alongside Gunhild and Kensley, Gunnar and Torvald, and the other strong young folk from the area.
They participated in many battles, and won handily against their foes. They did their lands proud. But they were far, far from home. Just as they left their last battlefield victorious, they were ambushed, wounded, and left fleeing into a valley they were unfamiliar with.
They trekked back using the stars and vague recollections. It was tough and they took many a wrong turn. The one that hurt morale most way in the mountains, at the river that looks like three - they followed the wrong way after the fork. It lost them an extra three days. They were tired of hunting and marching, but they were cold and hungry. They were perhaps not long for the world if things continued as they had.
Torvald started a fire, declaring camp be made.
Vibike remembered the tin of Machen Bachen in her pack and finally took them out. She shared them with each.
Gunhild exclaimed how filling it was.
Gunnar melted into his blanket and declared it so comfortingly sweet.
Kensley embrassed Vibike, thankful for her generosity, "it is not everyone who shares a gift made for them, but you may have saved our will to live with these!"
And they made it home, battered and bruised, but smiling nonetheless.
It was thanks to the Machen Bachen.
Eirik had passed while she was away, but Vibike somehow felt she knew he couldn't have been here still, in town, that he had been with them, in the Machen Bachen themselves.
And they say it was she who decided to celebrate the day of their return, to share the strength of the love of the Machen Bachen.
So I hope that when you eat your Machen Bachen today, it gives you, too, the strength to go on.