This fall has been absolutely crazy! The weeks are flying by and I can’t believe that it is already the middle of November.
With 29 students this year, a lot of my time has been focused on school and all the needs in my classroom. It’s hard to feel like a good teacher when you don’t feel like you can get to every student every day…but I power through and try to at least talk to every kid each day.
Luckily the kids love to talk to me…which makes for great stories.
One day after recess, one of my little boys came in and headed straight for me. Now this little boy is new to Canada, his English is broken, but we do our best to understand each other and communicate as clearly as possible.
“Mrs. Skinner” he said, “Someone pooped in the field!”
As a teacher, it would not surprise me if some ACTUALLY pooped in the field, but I was pretty sure that was not the case.
“I think it may have been a dog.” I said matter-of-factly, praying that he really hadn’t seen someone poop in the field.
He considered this theory for a moment and gave me this look.
He promptly went up to my student teacher and said
“Miss. Koopmans, did you know A DOG pooped in the field?”
Never a dull moment.
Last weekend my sister was in town and we decided to make a meal that my Oma used to make us often when we were growing up. It is not a particularly healthy or even visually appealing meal, but we love it and it is a meal full of memories…even if it is not full of many nutrients!
I remember going to my Oma’s on a Saturday to have Klosse- boiled potato dumplings filled with dry, sweetened cottage cheese and smothered in bacon and onions. As children, my sister and I didn’t like the cheese filling, so my Oma used to just make the plain dumplings for us to eat. It was a treat we always enjoyed, but I had no idea how much time and effort went in to making them for us.
Now when my sister makes Klosse, she MAKES KLOSSE. Not 5 or 6 dumplings…but 40. Yes, you read that right…40. Forty-five pounds of potatoes…
You start by washing, peeling and cooking half of your potatoes.
With the cooked half, you rice them so that they have a very soft, pliable, lump-free texture.
With the uncooked potatoes we use a food processor to grate them finely.
Once that is done, you need to squeeze out every last bit of water from the potatoes.
Now this was enough work using the food processor and having two of us working on it, but my Oma used to grate all the potatoes BY HAND using a box grater. I can’t imagine how many hours she spent making these things.
Once the raw potatoes are ready, you mix it together with the cooked, riced potatoes and make a dough of sorts.
Then you move on to the cheesy filling. We use a meat grinder to grind up the cottage cheese to a nice texture and add to it some sugar and eggs.
Now you are ready to make the Klosse! (potato cannonballs as I like to refer to them)
You form a hand size round patty of potato in your hand and fill it with a dollup of the cheese mixture. Then you top it with another potato patty and seal the seams and smooth it out to make a ball. You need to make sure there are no cracks, or that you have not filled it too full of cheese or they will break apart in the water, spilling out all the delicious cheese filling.
As you can see, my sister and I have different sized hands, so our Klosse came out a little differently.
Next step it to boil these bad boys. 45 minutes in boiling water until they a nice grey color and kind of the consistency of wall paper paste (yummy!)
My sister uses a very sophisticated way of keeping track of the time.
During that 45 minutes, you have just enough time to cut up 3 packages of bacon and some onions and fry it up to serve over top!
The verdict- I know it looks weird, and for someone who did not grow up eating this, I am sure it tastes a bit weird…but this is my childhood on a plate.
I can only eat one because they sit like a cannonball in your stomach, but that is what they were meant to do. Fill you up when you didn’t have a lot of money or resources to do so. This was war-time food that my Oma and Opa used to eat, and that they brought here with them when they moved to Canada. When I eat it I think of them, and that makes me happy.