Monday, February 7, 2011

What's that smell?

Kartoffelklösse, croutons and gravy
As I said before, my grandmother lived in an apartment building. The lower street level was shops and the second and third floors were apartments.  After my grandfather died and my grandmother was living alone, the building’s demographics began to change. As tenants moved or passed away, a younger tenant base moved in. During the winter months, “Kartoffelklösse season,” as soon as you opened the front door to the building, the unbelievable smell of Kartoffelklösse and whatever meat grandma was cooking hit you like a blast of good old fashioned home cooking. Often some of the tenants of the building would ask what grandma was cooking. It had the intoxicating effect of a snake charmers flute. 
When my grandmother passed away in about 1982, there were five people in my family that knew how to make Kartoffelklösse. My aunt, two cousins, my sister and I had learned to make them from my grandmother. Tradition! I inherited her brass grater, an enamel coated canning pot, her hand held potato masher and the memories of some really great dinners. I should mention at this point that often when Kartoffelklösse was served, it would either come out of the kitchen a very dark greenish grey color (Grüne Klöße), or a lighter color, closer to white, but never really white. The color, my grandmother explained had something to do with how old the potatoes were and also how fast you processed them from raw potatoes into Kartoffelklösse. It’s called oxidation. You have to understand that Kartoffelklösse is great whether they are white, or gray. They just don't look as good when they are gray.

No comments: