Yesterday was another dreary, rainy day in Bergen... but thanks to my cousin Hans Peter and his family, it was an enjoyable day.
I had mentioned to Hans Peter that my mother used to make "spaetzle", the little dumplings or noodles that are typical of Germany and Switzerland. I was sure that she had learned to make them from her Swiss grandmother. She even called them by their Swiss name... "spaetzli". Every time I go to a German restaurant I order "spaetzle", hoping that they will be as good as what my mother made. They never are.
Hans Peter said that his mother also used to make "spaetzli", and he decided that he was going to try to make some. He never used to do any cooking, but in recent years he has started to experiment in the kitchen. He has really become quite a good cook. He found a recipe in a Swiss cookbook, and said that he was going to make it for us.
However, he did not have the special tool that is used for creating the little noodles. (My mother would simply spoon out dollops of batter and throw them into the boiling water.) He and I even went to a shopping mall yesterday afternoon, and went into every kitchen store looking for a "spaetzle" maker. Obviously, there was nothing to be found... this is Norway, not Switzerland.
We returned to their house, and Hans Peter made the "spaeztli" batter. He improvised and pushed the batter across a coarse grater over the pot of boiling water.
The finished product was very good. They were closer in taste to my mother's than anything I have eaten since my childhood. My mom used to serve the "spaetzli" with sauerkraut, and I would bet that if these were mixed with sauerkraut the taste would be the same as I remember.
So, all hail Hans Peter, King of the Spaetzli!