Twelve long years ago, I met spaetzle for the first time. We were in the Czech Republic, and it was summer. I was 16 – spaetzle was….well…considerably older, but age didn’t matter to us. During our first encounter that summer in the Czech Republic, I fell madly in love.
I remember it like it was yesterday: I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt; spaetzle was cloaked in a sweet sauce of butter and poppy seeds. Neither of us heard the clink of fork on plate as we met for the first time. I remember the moment as tender, with a slight bite (just the right amount.) I remember the rush as my teeth sank into pillowy goodness. And I remember the butter.
That summer was amazing, and we both swore we would not be strangers to each other when it came to an end. But touching down on American soil once more, I was distracted. Years of pizza, tacos, and take-out Thai came and went, my beloved spaetzle momentarily forgotten. During one of those years, I swore off floury food all together: no gluten, no spaetzle! It looked like our love affair might be over for good.
But I’m happy to report that, twelve years after we first met, I’ve rekindled my relationship with spaetzle. Our first meeting on American soil was remarkably similar to our first meeting in the Czech Republic: my new spaetzle is just as tender, just as pillowy, and just as buttery as the one I remember from twelve years ago. But with one major difference: no gluten. Which made our encounter all the more exciting.
If you’ve never heard of spaetzle and just made it through that whole love story without googling it or giving up – you are super awesome! In case that did happen, let me brief you: spaetzle is a traditional German dish that is somewhere between a dumpling and a noodle. It is normally oddly shaped and can be served in both sweet and savory preparations, with all manner of delicious things.