Those of you who know how often I traveled to Germany for work in the last few years will have an idea or two about how I felt about today’s lesson. Since all good French people know that Germany doesn’t have a cuisine worth mentioning, instead of a full-out Germany lesson, we focussed today on the regions of Alsace and Lorraine which are on the German border on the East side of France. Basically the only difference between what we made today and anything I’ve ever eaten in Germany was the occasional French name. (i.e. Choucroute instead of Sauerkraut)
Spaetzle, which has the same name in German or French, apparently, are petite pasta dumplings that go particularly well with sausages or cheese. “Kase spaetzle” is basically German mac and cheese. This was one of the first things I ever ate abroad, and which I almost always ordered off a German menu when available. The batter for spaetzle was akin to pancake batter – runny. We merely pour the batter through a colander into a pot of salted boiling water until the little spaetzles floated to the surface, which took all of about 15 seconds. We served ours with a pan-fried trout and Riesling sauce. (Trout heads optional.)
I find lately that whenever I am with someone or a group of people with even the slightest interest in cooking, the fact that I am in culinary school causes them to believe that I am harboring profound culinary secrets and am often asked to impart some of them. Here’s the best overall tip I have: try to gain regular access to really high quality ingredients and ingredients that you wouldn’t typically choose to work with (see Heads-On Trout, above) and practice cooking them every day.
If that sounded like a cop out from someone who just doesn’t want to share her secrets, I do apologize. I therefore will offer you the following new feature of this blog:
CULINARY SCHOOL TIP OF THE DAY!: When breading things for frying, use one hand to dunk in dry ingredients and the other hand to dunk in wet ingredients so that you’re only gunking up one hand and have the other relatively clean and high functioning.
See? You’re now on your way to becoming culinary masters.