Dutch Fork: Liver Nips

Deep-dish pies of all kinds abounded. There was chicken pie with thick top and bottom pastry crust filled with cream, chicken, and sliced boiled eggs. There were deep-dish onion pies with cooked spring onions and egg in flaky crusts. Then great pastry-filled stews, such as the Schneider-stiicken, made with young chicken (or even squirrel) and pastry noodles rolled out very thin, and cut into squares and triangles, then stewed in milk and chicken broth. And dumplings of various sorts, sizes, and textures was a Dutch Fork trademark! There was "big-head" dumplings (made with flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, and sweet milk) dropped on great mounds of sauerkraut and steamed. They were light and fluffy. Then there were the tight dumplings, gooey and moist. The all-time favorite dumpling of this sort is the Dutch Fork specialty Liver Kneeps, variously known in the Fork as Liver Nips and Liver Dumplings, for which the area is still famous today. Of the old-time food survivors, this has been the most enduring and tenacious. For when a Dutch Forker deserts every old-time way, he never gives over his Liver Nips! This dish is made of bits of scraped liver, eggs, suet, diced onions, basil (or sage and coriander), pepper, and flour and dropped as spoon-sized dumplings into boiling beef-broth. The receipt in the Fork varies slightly in its particulars from family to family; and certain liver dumpling recipes are known by the names of the families in which they have been passed down, for the subject of liver dumplings is no small matter in the Fork. The recipe is also still known today in Southern Germany and is prepared as Leber Kneeps, much as it is in the modern Dutch Fork. Und, meine Freunden, sie sind sehr gut! This is another instance of a German custom which has been practiced unchanged for two and a half centuries. (Kibler, 1988)

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