Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Machine

The Things We Use Now
After my grandmother passed away, my wife and I were the only ones that still made traditional Kartoffelklösse, using her grater, her sugar sack, her potato masher, her canning pot, etc. Tradition!
Before I continue a little more history, I can’t think of one person in our family that didn’t like Kartoffelklösse. As we children got older and began the cycle of dating and getting married, the new additions to the family could not understand what all the fuss was about. We just couldn’t understand anyone who didn’t like Kartoffelklösse.
My mother never made Kartoffelklösse because she never had the right tools. She did however make the best pork roast, Rouladen, Sauerbraten, and the best gravy and plenty of it.  So it was collaboration with mom and my wife in charge of the meat and gravy.
It was only a matter of time before someone would mess with tradition. As I said before, there has always been a rumor that somewhere in Germany there is a machine that allegedly makes Kartoffelklösse. My sister, who is notorious for messing with tradition, stated that she had found the machine. She told me that when she made Kartoffelklösse with this machine, they were not only great tasting, but also pure white every time. “Blasphemy,” I told her.
My father played this rivalry out for all it was worth. As I said before, the color of the Kartoffelklösse has no effect on the taste. It is said that we eat with our eyes first, so the color can have a negative impact on someone new to Kartoffelklösse. When eating at my house he would say that he loved them. There was always a “but.” My dad went on to say that my “Kartoffelklösse” were not as white as my sisters. 
So off we went, clear across a couple of towns to debunk the "pure white Kartoffelklösse" myth. When I arrived, I approached the machine just in time to watch my sister grate and extract the water from the potatoes. My sister explained that she had made some adjustments to the traditional recipe and added lemon juice to help keep the potatoes white (certainly not in grandma's traditional recipe). She also used a microwave to heat up the mashed potatoes when ready to mix with the dry potatoes. 
The machine, a Waring Professional Juicer, not only grated the potatoes with a stainless steel circular grating blade to the desired consistency, the stainless steel basket containing the grated potato pulp, was spinning like a centrifuge. This process would extract every drop of moisture from the potatoes, leaving only the desired very dry white pulp behind. While the basket was spinning, a bowl placed beneath the spout collects the liquid from the potatoes. At the bottom of that liquid you find the raw potato starch. 
My sister said that she perfected the art of freezing Kartoffelklösse, so you can have them anytime that you want. Imagine that, Kartoffelklösse out of the freezer. 
It was a miracle. But how did they taste? Just like mine and Grandma’s, with a lot less work.  The juicer, a Waring Professional, was about $199.00, and not in my budget at that time. For the next two years my wife and I made them the traditional way, by hand. My father and mother kept this rivalry alive because they got to eat Kartoffelklösse twice as often as they use to. I began saving my change until I could afford the juicer. So there you have it. Kartoffelklösse, no longer an all-day prep event, but you still have plenty of dishes to wash. You've just got to get a Waring Professional Juicer and begin making the greatest potatoes on earth.
A couple of months ago I found the German machine and it's called the "Thüringer Kloßpresse." It looks like a small version of a wine press. It's made of stainless steel and has a screw attached to a "T" handle. It comes with a cloth sack. I searched the internet to find one available in the US without any luck. If anyone knows where I can find one in the US leave me an email. 

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