Saturday, February 26, 2011

How many times did Grandma make Kartoffelklösse?

My Aunt and cousins lived in the same town as my grandmother, so helping her when she made the klösse (klay-za) often fell on their shoulders. When our family arrived, hours later after Grandma started making the dinner, all that would be left to do was grate the potatoes, squeezed every drop of water out of them, break apart the dry potato pulp and mix this pulp with the boiling hot mashed potatoes.  On the bottom of the bowl, the excess starch from the grated potatoes would settle. This starch was a critical ingredient in the klösse making process. Not enough,  and they would fall apart, leaving you with potato soup. To much and you would have very heavy cannon balls for dinner. Now all that was left to do was roll the potato mixture into balls with three croutons in the center of each one. Making the klösse had to be done very quickly or the klösse would turn dark gray. 

Making Kartoffelklösse Balls
I decided to ask my cousin, who was there most often while Grandma made klösse talked about. 

One day my cousin said that he had a conversation with my Grandmother while making klösse when she was 12 years old. By the time she was 75, she made klösse every Sunday since she was 12. My cousin  said that she had to have made them at least 3,000 times, by hand! In case you're wondering why anyone would do that, I am sure that there are many reasons. Since potatoes were readily available, because we really loved them, and it was tradition. 
Even with that kind of experience making klösse, Grandma had, often she would enter the dining room from the kitchen with a platter of dark gray, leaden "cannonballs."  She would apologise for the dark color saying that the potatoes we old, or that there was to much, or to little starch in them. As you know, figuring out how much starch is in the potatoes was an art/science of  critical concern, because if you didn't figure correctly, you had a disaster on your hands.
To us the color of the klösse didn't matter because they always tasted great.  

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