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Help with a German food item - Printable Version

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Help with a German food item - labradors - 09-04-2007

With all the recent discussion of lebkuchen, etc., perhaps one of you may be able to help me with something for which I have yet to find a satisfactory answer.

My mother tells of something her grandmother used to make. Unfortunately, she doesn't remember it THAT well, doesn't cook it, herself, AND is not very good with non-English words (e.g. she pronounces spaetzle as "spetch-lees"). Thus, all I can do is to give the gist of the recipe and the way she pronounces the name.

First, a phonetic way of spelling the way she says the name of this one is "ef-en-SEM-en-ee," but I haven't been able to find anything even remotely close to that on the web, and I've tried it several different ways.

The recipe, itself, is rather simple, but I don't know how accurately she remembers it, nor whether she saw the whole process. All she said is that her grandmother would mash up leftover potatoes, adding flour a little at a time until the mixture can be formed into small balls which are then fried.

That's it. It sounds TOO simple. It almost sounds like Kartoffelklöße, but there is no bread involved. It also sounds a bit like Gnocchi, but there are no eggs. In either case, these are fried in butter, not boiled in water.

Any ideas as to the correct name and complete recipe for this mysterious memory?

Re: Help with a German food item - HomeCulinarian - 09-04-2007

You got me curious... I found this one on the web. It doesn't sound anything like what your mom remembers it to be called, though.

Re: Help with a German food item - labradors - 09-04-2007

You are right: that is different. I've already done copious web searches , on and off, for about six years. That's why I decided to post the question in a forum, instead. In particular, I was hoping someone with a German background would recognise the name (and, perhaps, know the proper name and spelling), and be able to describe what it is, rather than trying to find recipes based upon ingredients.

Re: Help with a German food item - mjkcooking - 09-04-2007

Hi Labs.
how was this item used ? with meat or on there own? with a sauce ? its not a potatoe dumpling?
any more informatin?
thanks Marye

Re: Help with a German food item - labradors - 09-04-2007

As far as I know, it was just a side, and I don't think they used any sauce.

It's not Kartoffelklöße: those are made with bread, and are boiled. These were not made with bread, and were fried.

The only other information I could provide is that my mother was not from a wealthy family, so this could be "peasant food." It may not even be a traditional German dish, but something he grandmother just made up during the Depression. In that case, though, it would seem odd for it to have a name. I wish I could say more, but that's all I've got.

Re: Help with a German food item - farnfam - 09-04-2007

sounds a little bit like potato latkes without the onions

Re: Help with a German food item - labradors - 09-04-2007

Latkes also have eggs (this doesn't), and are made with grated potatoes (not mashed).

Thanks for the ideas, but keep trying. I've been through all of these types of ingredient-based guesses quite a lot over the six years I've been searching. Maybe I'll just have to try writing to someone in Germany who may have a chance of recognising the name.

Re: Help with a German food item - cjs - 09-05-2007

Well, lab, talk about being a day late and a $ short...Roy's (husband) mother pronounced spaetzle the same way (which by the way, is a correct pronounciation) your mother did. She also cooked all the 'old country dishes' - but she died last year, so all those have gone with her, except the few I knew to ask for, like (don't know how to spell it) 'liverkenip' soup.

It's so sad when these dishes are lost to us.

Re: Help with a German food item - labradors - 09-06-2007

Thanks. The odd part of the pronunciation is how LONG (in sound, not time) she would make the final E. It was like the E in "seek," when it would normally be more like a schwa (like the A in "sofa", for example). In fact, the pronunciation of spätzle is usually shown with a schwa. Maybe it's a regional difference (either from Germany, or one that developed among German immigrants to the U.S.). Interesting.

Unfortunately, when I tried to paste the schwa and pronunciation into the message, the forum would not properly reproduce the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbols, so I had to resort to other examples.

Re: Help with a German food item - cjs - 09-06-2007

My handy dandy FLC gives this info on pronounciation of spaetzle or spatzle -

SHPEHT-sluh, SHPEHT-sehl; SHPEHT-slee