If you stay long enough in Southern Germany, the chances are that you will develop a craving for a local pasta dish known to local as “Spätzle” (pronounced sh-petts-lurr).
Of course, this isn’t an issue as long as you stay in Southern Germany; you can get that delicious eggy pasta goodness just about everywhere. However, what do you do when you return home, in my case to Manchester in England? As far as I know, there aren’t many South German restaurants hiding among the fish and chip shops and curry houses of Manchester, and Spätzle is a dish that needs to be made fresh. So, I decided to make the dish at home.
Here is my unscientific recipe for Spätzle (which serves 4 hungry fans of the dish):
Step 1: Take 4 eggs, 400g flour, salt, some oil and enough water to make a very thick pancake batter
Step 2: Mix in a bowl and work the batter with a wooden spoon until it becomes stringy and you can see bubbles (or until you get too tired or too hungry and stop)
Step 3: Chop the batter into short tubes
Step 4: Boil the tubes in salty water a handful at a time until the tubes float
Step 5: Serve with grated cheese, and cold German beer on the side (which is optional)
As you can see, step 3 is the tricky bit: how on earth do you chop batter?
While you could push the batter through a colander or a cheese grater, it gets pretty messy very quickly. Instead – using stereotyped German engineering ingenuity – a device was invented to cope with this. It’s called a Spätzle Hobel, or a Spätzle plane.
I am now one of the few households in the North of England that possesses such a device, but to me it is absolutely perfect. Not only do I get perfect Spätzle everytime – but it’s also quite a fun and fulfilling process to make this satisfying dish. The Spätzle Hobel was invented for one purpose only, and it fulfils that purpose much better than any multi-purpose kitchen gizmo.
This reminds me of EXASOL, a company that was founded to help companies do one thing and one thing well: high-speed analytics using in-memory technology that encompasses the following attributes:
- German engineering
- Designed for a purpose
- Effective and flexible
- Satisfying to use
- Doesn’t drip batter all over your kitchen
If you want to make Spätzle, I would certainly recommend you invest in a Spätzle Hobel.
If you want to run analytic queries against large amounts of data, you should definitely speak to EXASOL.