a belated festivus post

So, if you're here reading this, chances are you know about my deep and abiding love for Italy. I went on a whim, instead of transferring, to stay in a castle and study poetry. Luckily my German classes paid off, since the castle was in the northern part of the country, up in the Alps in a land that was - like me - more Germanic than Italian. I was the translator for our group; my German got a practical work-out talking to shop owners and buying bread at the Saturday market.

The twelve of us studied with the offspring of Ezra Pound, and during the week our breakfasts and lunches were taken care of (and dinner, on workdays). As I've mentioned before, being polite has always trumped my pickiness, and because of this I tried all sorts of things that I would not have otherwise. Like wild boar.

Spätzle became my favorite food there, one I sought out in restaurants and hoped B. (who made our lunches and work-day dinners) would make again. I found it in the supermarket back in Greensboro, when I got back to the States, but something about buying it from the store like that seemed wrong. I knew it wouldn't live up.

This food has been on my mind for almost four years. (Also, jeez, how has that much time passed?) Once I got The Joy of Cooking, I darted back to the index to see if they had a spätzle recipe. And of course, they did. I still didn't make it. I'm not sure what I was waiting for, but I needed an occasion to make it. A colander, too, since traditionally you push the dough through the colander; unfortunately the holes on my colander were too small. Alas and alack.

Finally, the time was right. I hosted last year's (!) Festivus party, sating both my desire to make spätzle and my desire to have a dinner party. My spätzle turned out more misshapen than I remembered them in Europe, but it didn't really matter as none of my guests had heard of the dish before. (I also wasn't able to get any pictures of the process since I was more concerned with getting everything ready at the same time, but this way you get that goofy picture of me four years ago!)

Plus, if I may say so, it was pretty delicious! Food was served and everyone went silent, except for the occasional mmmms.

adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

This dish is somewhere between dumplings and noodles. It's a fantastic dish for winter, because it's fairly hearty and filling, and it'll warm you up. Trust me, those Alpine folk know how to keep you warm. And well-fed.

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
pat of butter

Combine flour, salt, nutmeg, pepper, eggs, and milk in a medium bowl, mixing well. The dough is going to be pretty sticky. Bring some water to a boil. This is the point where, if you have a colander with large enough holes, you could push the dough through them. If you don't, however, you can just drop the dough into the water with a small spoon.

Simmer and cook for about five minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the spätzle to a serving dish. As you're doing so, add butter every now and then to melt in the dish.


  1. Spatzle is one of my favorites. Hungarians make it too. When I was really sick this fall my dad made me some and my mom brought it with her on the plane and then my sister made some vegetarian stuffed cabbages to go with it. It's not often that I crave food from my eastern european roots, but it sure does hit the spot.

  2. Yeah, I've heard of it being served with paprikash, too. Thanks for stopping by, Leise!!