Monday, 11 April 2016

Thinking while cooking

Today was my day off so I did the grocery shopping which refilled our meat supply. We have a lovely butcher in Cambridge, Dipietros, that has good meat at fair prices. We particularly like their breaded pork cutlets otherwise known as schnitzel.
Generally when I cook these it becomes a bit of a production because it has turned into a classic German meal. Those of you who know me know that I spent the last few months of high school as an exchange student in Germany. I was paired with a family that lived in southern Germany in the Schwarz Wald. I'm pretty sure everyone who was in school with me will remember Uschi. She became one of us, sad but true, very quickly. All the boys had a crush on her.
So, back to tonight's dinner. Schnitzel mit Spaetzle was a delicious dinner that we had a number of times while I lived there. Spaetzle are a Schwaben noodle or dumpling that is made fresh every time. Uschi's grandma was the resident expert at making them and cut each noodle by hand. I loved these things so much I came home with a spaetzle drucker ( spaetzle press). Between the noodles and the bread I managed to put on 20 pounds over there, which put me at about 125 in those long ago days.
I digress. I have started making fresh spaetzle and am becoming a bit of a dab hand at cutting the dough into the boiling water. This is very time consuming and my mind always wanders to Germany and my time there. I lost touch with Uschi years ago when my Jessica and her Sara were babies. I don't think she ever knew how much influence my time with her family and friends have had on my life. I was a shy 18 year old who didn't have much confidence in her linguistic skills. Gerhard, Uschi's boyfriend then first husband, patiently taught me how to comfortably speak German and Schwaben. The words still dance around in my head. This happens regularly when I cook tonight's meal. I look at my misshapen spaetzle and wonder if Uschi's Oma would approve. They may not be much to look at but they taste perfect.
   This is dinner. We always have the same combo, schnitzel, spaetzle and grilled brussels sprouts.

I often wish I had met Uschi later in life. I could have appreciated what she had to offer so much more. As it was we didn't have that much in common and she bonded more with Brenda than me. I was young and madly in love. I missed out on an offer to go to Italy at the end of the school year with Uschi's family because I HAD to get home. What a dolt. Since then I've never had the opportunity to travel.
So, Uschi, if by some weird chance you are out there and wander across my blog let me know. I'd love to know how life turned out.# UrsulaAuchPfeiffer, maybe this will flag to you.
Nonetheless, dinner was delicious and the memories were a sweet dessert.

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