Friday, May 31, 2013

Apple #637: Knaidel

You may have seen the news articles that the 13 year-old boy, Arvind Mahankali, who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee secured his win by spelling "knaidel."  Like me, you may have wondered, what the heck does that mean?

  • Knaidel is defined as a small ball of unleavened dough.  That's pretty vague.
  • A more descriptive definition is that it's a dumpling popular in Jewish cooking.  One type of knaidel with which most people are familiar is the matzo ball.

This knaidel is made from potatoes, for a gluten-free variety, and is served here in chicken soup.
(Photo and recipe from The Shiksa in the Kitchen)

Matzoh balls, sans broth.  Matzo balls are made from matzo meal, which is unleavened wheat flour, chicken fat, and eggs.
(Photo from The Cook's Thesaurus)
  • The plural of knaidel is knaideach, or knaidlech, or kneidlach.

This mix says you can make your own knaidlach, and gluten-free too.
(Photo and mix from Always Kosher)

The woman who made these spells them matzah balls. I wonder how Scripps handles variant spellings.
(Photo from Kveller. She's also got about 5 different recipes, from spicy, to potato, to fluffy, to not cholesterol)

  • Ah, here's the Scripps rule about variant spellings:
If more than one spelling is listed for a word, any of these spellings will be accepted as correct if the following three criteria are met: (1) the pronunciations are identical, (2) the definitions are identical, and (3) the words are identified as being standard variants of each other. Spellings having temporal labels (such as archaic, obsolete), stylistic labels (such as substand, nonstand) or regional labels (such as North, Midland, Irish) which differ from main entry spellings not having these status labels will not be accepted as correct.
  •  How you'd remember which variants are of the acceptable vs non-acceptable variety, I don't know. But then, these kids remember a ton of spelling and grammar rules, so maybe they have some sort of trick to deal with variants. 

This is Arvind with his trophy. I wonder if he'll celebrate with a bowl of knaidel, or matzo ball soup.
(Photo from Reuters)

Related entries: Kosher

Scripps National Spelling Bee, 2013 Championship Finalists
Fox News, New York teen wins National Spelling Bee title, May 31, 2013
Reuters, New Yorker Arvind Mahankali wins U.S. spelling bee with 'knaidel,' May 31, 2013

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