A Lineage Food Memory: Schnitzel + Spätzle

“My mom took family mealtimes very seriously. [She] lived in the kitchen and she was endlessly happy to see us all enjoying the meal.”

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Today we are delighted to share with you Alisa’s story of her mom, whose Austrian roots were intertwined in her childhood. She was also kind enough to share her mother’s recipe of schnitzel and spätzle with us so we could give it a try.

Read on for Alisa’s food memory that recounts the discipline and joy of learning to cook her mother’s famous schnitzel + spätzle recipe.

Alisa’s Food Memory: Schnitzel + Spätzle

Fried chicken on plate with potatoes

“I was 12 years old when my Mom taught me how to make schnitzel and spätzle. Breading the schnitzel in stages of flour, egg and breadcrumb was an art form. One of the most important steps was to press the breadcrumbs into the meat. 

The spätzle was made of a thick paste of flour, eggs, and milk, pressed into a spätzle press over hot boiling water that took just minutes to cook, then into a hot buttered pan to complete the dish. A green vinaigrette salad was made to go with it. 

The table was adorned with a tablecloth for the special dinner, which came out perfect with my Mom’s guidance. That was the first day of many that she taught me how to cook her Austrian recipes. To this day they are my family’s favourite. Those moments with her in the kitchen have made me an amazing cook, and for that I am truly grateful for all her teachings and love.

My mom took family mealtimes very seriously. We always sat at the table for every meal. There was an abundance of food, desserts, and great conversation. My mother lived in the kitchen and she was endlessly happy to see us all enjoying the meal. 

My favourite part of cooking with Mom was her teaching me until I got it right. It had to be just like the way she did it, or else it wasn’t good enough! Being Austrian, she didn’t hold back on telling me to do it until I mastered it. 

She never measured the seasonings, but it always tasted so perfect. That was the art I wanted to learn and to this day when making a bolognese sauce or meal, I think of her and smile as her teachings gave me the ability to master this skill. 

I loved her hard core disciplined teaching, and I loved it even more how proud and impressed she was when I got it right.

Because of her, I’m a great cook. I, too, live in my kitchen. It's my happy place. My mother taught me that food is made with love and my family can definitely taste it.”
 
— Alisa P. @alwayspetrisch on Instagram

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Authentic Austrian Schnitzel + Spätzle

Schnitzel

Pounding chicken on cutting board

The secret to making schnitzel is to pound the meat until it’s nice and thin. 

Prepare the breading in a flat bowl of flour, a flat bowl of eggs scrambled up (raw), and a bowl of breadcrumbs that you can add salt, pepper, thyme or Italian seasoning, or whatever you like, to your taste.

Dip the thin meat into flour, then egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs. You need to press the bread crumbs into the meat with your fingers. 

This is not a Shake & Bake into a plastic bag kinda thing. Huge no-no! 

If you want it double breaded, then go back into the egg and then breadcrumbs again, but I never do that.  Just an option.

Fry on both sides for a few minutes - and done.

Spätzle

Spatzle in pot

3 cups of flour
4 eggs
1 cup of milk

In a bowl, stir all the ingredients together, it will make a thick paste. 
Spoon into a Spätzle press and hold it over a big pot of salted boiling water, when they rise to the top, only takes a few minutes, then they are done. Drain, put in a pan with some butter, and fry up a bit, if you want you can add grated Gruyère cheese. 

Mom always served spätzle with a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing of oil, vinegar, sugar and salt + pepper. Steamed carrots also made an appearance every time we made schnitzel.
 
Enjoy.

This story belongs to Alisa and is part of the Mother’s Day series created by and shared with our community. 

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