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Dumplings: the joy of winter

By Staff | Nov 26, 2010

Variety is the spice of life, and who knows that better than North Dakotans.

As snow blankets our yards and chilly temperatures come upon our doorstep, we know that winter is here to stay. Winter, like all of our seasons, has a special beauty.

None of us can deny the attractiveness of the hues of sunsetrose and misty purple drifting through the vast western skies. As this color palette begins to set behind a cluster of trees, it casts long shadows to seize the last rays of a wintry sunset.

Along Highway 2 near Towner, there stands a perfect huddle of trees. Some have fallen, creating arches of beauty. It is a breathtaking panorama when these trees and a colorful winter sunset play their duet. In fact, it is awe-inspiring!

Just as scenes like these astound our eyes, don’t worry. Winter brings many recipes that also gladden our taste buds. Let us head to our dependable recipe files and cookbooks and congregate the recipes we have for dumplings. Do not winter and dumplings go hand in hand?

If you are a real dumpling lover like me, it is o.k. to compromise the seasonal tradition and make them on a cold spring day, a rainy summer day, or a windy, bitter fall day. They do however, seem to taste best on a cold winter day when the curtains are drawn, night closes in and you are surrounded by the warmth of home and aroma of dumpling meal.

My mother was raised in a home with a 100% German mother and a 100% Danish father. She enjoyed the blending of their heritage dishes, especially the dumplings of her mother.

When my mom made dumplings at home, she often placed them on soup or stews. This is certainly a hit with everyone gathered at the gingham. Now for a little something extra, you can do dumplings without soup or stew.

With a little imagination, boiled dumplings can be worked into several menus. In fact, on the very bright side of dining, we have even had dumplings as a light snack! All diners found the fluffy clouds dressed with butter to be breathtaking! I think it is safe to say that dumplings are a cheery sight.

Miss Lydia has been hypnotized by dumplings, just like her father! A much-loved menu is a thick slice of fried ham lightly glazed with brown sugar, spinach dumplings, and a chorus of steamed carrots and cauliflower finished with a light cheese sauce. This would be followed by a cranberry yogurt in which bananas are hiding out. It is one of the real joys we serve at our table when wintry blankets cover our yard, and they often reappear until spring’s last snow melt.

Lydia’s latest addition to this meal is her very attractive, hand-crafted place cards! She also has engaged all of us to hold hands during grace. She says, “because that’s what families do.” Once again, our little dumpling adds brilliance and joy to our table.

I share with you two recipes. The feather dumplings come from my mother (exactly as it appears on her recipe card.) The spinach dumplings come from a winter ski trip to Montana.

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