Such a give-away. The recipe book, the phone and the notes, all together as above on the side in the kitchen. It was obvious that our hostess had been consulting her mother.
A regional speciality, apparently, from her home area of Germany. A form of meat-stuffed dumplings – minced liver sausage and some other form/s of meat not vouchsafed to us – enfolded and rolled inside a potato-based dumpling shell. There they are awaiting immersion in the boiling water.
Once cooked they were covered in, what else, a meat sauce. Served, I assume possibly as a concession to the faddy Brits concerned about a balanced diet, with puréed apple.
Our hostess assured us, full of woe, that they were really nothing like as good as her mother’s. No, it wasn’t different ingredients, they were all from Germany. No, it wasn’t a different recipe or procedure since, as we had already detected, she’d double checked with the mother in question who had provided precise instructions.
Or maybe not entirely precise. “How thick should the layer of dumpling dough be?” our anxious chef had apparently asked. “Well, not too thick and not to thin” came the unarguable but unhelpful reply.
I love this shared unbroken chain of culinary self-defined failure spreading back, no doubt, daughter to mother, nigh unto the advent of fire.
They were, of course, absolutely delicious. But I needed a long period of motionlessness in a horizontal position afterwards.