Another episode of What Is It
August 19, 2015 4:58 PM   Subscribe

We got this as a wedding present, with no note or explanation. It might be a gag gift, but it looks like it aught to do...something.

Another view. It looks like a cheese grater, but the blades are turned sideways. The box on the bottom slides back and forth.
posted by bitslayer to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Spaetzle maker.
posted by JPD at 5:01 PM on August 19, 2015 [9 favorites]

I think the box holds the cheese steady. Have you tried grating cheese with it? I have a box grater with a similar attachment -- it prevents me from scraping my knuckles.
posted by janey47 at 5:02 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes, that is a spaetzle maker.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:03 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]

well whaddaya know. Ignore me, bitslayer
posted by janey47 at 5:04 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are different types of spaetzle: long skinny strands, fat strands, and the tiny pellet shapes this thing would produce. Different shapes originate in different regions; I was always taught the pellets this spaetzle maker would produce would be more Hungarian than anything else.

The recipes vary; my family's recipe is 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, one egg, salt to taste. Beat well, cover and let it rest for an hour or so. Boil a large pot of salted water; you want a good rolling boil. Dip the spaetzle maker in, get the plate and slider section wet. Fill the slider (no more than 2/3 full at a time), balance it across the top of the pot, and move the slider back and forth till it's empty. When the spaetzles rise to the top, fish them out right away and drop them into a pot of cool water to stop them from continuing to cook.

Oh, and obviously: the plate is the bottom part, the box is the top!
posted by easily confused at 5:25 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]

I have that thing! Yes it is a spaatzle maker, and it makes teardrop shaped pellets like easily confused talks about.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:15 PM on August 19, 2015

What they said. Fill the hopper with dough, put the whole thing on top of a pot of boiling water, and run the hopper back and forth over the holes.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:36 PM on August 19, 2015

If you want to try another dough in it, this ricotta gnocchi dough is ridiculously good.

Spaetzle is a great addition to brothy soups.
posted by eritain at 9:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

My german girlfriend always called that a "spaetzle hobel".
She would use that to grate dough into boiling water to make Bavarian pasta which was was mixed with crispy fried onions, smelly Limberger cheese, and possibly other stuff to make the most delicious substance I've ever had, "kaese spaetzle".
posted by w0mbat at 11:43 PM on August 19, 2015

If it helps, I successfully make authentic spaetzle using an ordinary cheese grater and a silicone scraper to push the dough through. It's a bit more work, but a whole gadget just for making spaetzle is overkill, if you were looking for something to return...
posted by wnissen at 3:16 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you want REALLY authentic spaetzle-making, there's a method using nothing but a thin wooden board and a long straight knife --- of course, then you get my old German grandmother standing behind you muttering that you'll never get married, because "men won't marry a girl who can't make thin spaetzle".

She also called using ANY style of spaetzle-machine "cheating".
posted by easily confused at 5:26 AM on August 21, 2015

I think Spaetzle shapes (and what you use to make them that way) are a regional variation thing, not a more-or-less authentic thing.
posted by werkzeuger at 8:22 AM on August 26, 2015

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