Wiggle Glacé and Potatoes

Wednesday night at around 6:40pm my front door opened and the sound of a large pit bull's paws in my front hall resounded - quick and excited. The excitement was mutual - those footsteps meant Lucy. And Lucy meant the arrival of friends for Wiggle Glacé supper. 

Lucy, the benevolent pit bull

10 minutes later the garage door opened which meant the arrival of Eric. I love that sound. I stopped tending the whirring potatoes to greet him and chuckled at the stereotypicalness of this domestic moment. 

It is then that the kitchen morphs from my quiet sanctuary where moments ago I was meditatively snapping beans, measuring milk and cleanings greens to a flurry of chatter, clinking glasses, animal noises, and laughter. I love this transformation - There is some sense of relief that both exist so closely together. 

A little while later we finally sit down for our meal and though it was in that first bite that the named purpose for our gathering begun, we had really reached our goal the moment we all entered the kitchen. Isn't it true of all meals? My teacher, Robert Reynolds, wrote a sweet cookbook not long ago that addressed this feeling of mine. It's titled, An Excuse to be Together. Seems to me that says it all. 

The Portland, Oregon Wiggle Glacé Supper

The Hesston, Kansas Wiggle Glacé Supper

Wiggle Glacé is said to be an "old German recipe", which makes sense I suppose - the recipe is from my great-grandmother, Edna Stoltzfus, who was of German descent.  However, the translation of Wiggle Glacé is most sensical in French. 
Wiggle, in English, French or German, is just that: To move back and forth with quick irregular motion. 
Glacé in French: "having a smooth, glazed or glossy surface, such as certain silks or leather."   

This photo immediately came to mind..

Grandma Belle Boyts prepping the noodle

Glossy. Like certain silks.

Edna is my father's mother's mother and her Wiggle Glacé made it into the legendary Mennonite Community Cookbook, page 101, the middle of the page, the formula for the meal.
Frankly, the credit to "Mrs. Aaron Stoltzfus" makes me a cringe a tiny bit every time I turn to her page. Her name was Edna. But I digress.

Page 101

I remember my grandmother Belle making these at her home in Indiana when I was a small girl. There is this vivid image of the exact stove, the pot, even which burner on the stove (front right corner in case you were wondering). Those swirls floating around in the rich-smelling stock etched the things into my memory. The taste of them sealed the deal. Always paired with mashed potatoes, the dumpling seems to melt in your mouth, all the elements coming together. True fascination about the likes of such swirls was born in those moments.

The glossy, wiggling swirls

Those swirls are actually much more simple to accomplish than they look. Not that long ago I was quite intimidated by the idea of making my own noodles, much less rolling them up that way. It just seemed too complicated, too tedious, too finicky. Oh how wrong I was. Let me reassure you. If not me, you'll surely be reassured upon tasting.

Here's the construct of a Wiggle Glacé supper:

CHICKEN STOCK = Chicken + 3 Vegetables + 2 Herbs 

NOODLES = Eggs + Salt + Water + Flour  

MASHED POTATOES = Potatoes + Butter + Salt + Milk 

The noodle, pre-assembly. So simple. 

So let us begin...
By the way, for the ease of grocery list-making there is a list of ingredients at the bottom of this page. A list completes me.

Wiggle Glacé
An Old German Dish
Adapted from Mennonite Community Cookbook

Yield: 6-8 servings

The Chicken Stock
Note: I add vegetables to my stock, but you're free to leave them out. My grandmother does. 
Also this can made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Of course you can make it anytime and freeze it, which is what I prefer to do. 

1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
2 carrots, broken into chunks
2 celery stalks, broken into chunks
1 onion, quartered
4 sprigs of parsley
4 sprigs of thyme

1. Remove the organs of the chicken if the butcher has not done so already.

2. Place all vegetables, herbs and the chicken in large pot. cover with water till your hand is covered when you're pushing the chicken down.

3. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce heat to low. A froth will form at the surface in the beginning. Skim this with a spoon and discard it.

4. Allow the stock to simmer for at least 90 minutes. Then strain the stock either through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth. Discard the vegetables and herbs. Do NOT throw out that chicken! That chicken is kind of a big deal.

5. With the liquid:  If you're not making this in advance, skim the fat that glistens on the surface once you've removed the chicken from the liquid. Do NOT throw out that fat! Set it aside for later. If you are making the stock in advance, skim the fat off once it's cooled. A layer of the fat will form on the surface, which makes for easier skimming. Again don't throw it away.

6. With the chicken: Remove the meat from the bones when it is cool enough to handle and cut it into small pieces. Refrigerate or freeze the meat if you're doing this in advance. Otherwise, add it to the stock.
Note: If you have made the stock in advance, bring it to a boil when you're starting and then reduce to simmer. This will ensure you're serving a safe food. No body wants to go home with e. coli on the mind. Once it's simmering, add the chicken. 

7. Season the stock with salt, bringing it up to taste. This is important to do now because if you wait till you've added your noodles it will be difficult to stir.

The Noodles (Swirls)
Note: The primary key to a noodle is the dough's balance between wet and dry. Too wet and you'll have sticky dough. Too dry and you won't be able to roll it. The antidote is either flour or water. 
This portion of the recipe was changed a bit to get a more tender dough per the advice from Grandma Belle...another redeeming souvenir from my travels in Kansas.

3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons water
2 cups flour
4 Tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup fine bread crumbs (Note: You can make these by putting toast in a blender or food processor.)
4 Tablespoons butter
Chicken fat you set aside

1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Then add bread crumbs and stir till crumbs are thoroughly moistened. Set aside.

2. In mixing bowl, beat eggs, salt, and water together till combined.

3. Add the flour about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition with a wooden spoon. Dough should form a ball and this is where the balance of wet/dry is measured. Does it stick to your spoon relentlessly? Add just a bit of flour and work it in. Or is there lots of flour at the bottom of the bowl, unable to stick to the ball? Add just a bit of water.

4. Roll out the dough in a rectangle-resembling shape on a large cutting board, adding flour as needed to ensure it's not sticking to the board or your rolling pin.

5. Spoon some of that chicken fat on the surface till its glossy like silk. Evenly distribute bread crumbs and sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons of the minced parsley on top. Now marvel at that beauty you've created. Take a photo.

6. Roll it up like a cinnamon roll, moving the wider side of the rectangle in. When you get to the end of the roll, seal it up with either water or chicken fat.  Now cut the beauty into about 1 inch pieces. Take another photo.

Bringing the whole thing together...
1.  Slide the pieces of dough into the simmering chicken stock (which has the chicken in it). Cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes. The swirls will float to the top and bounce around buoyantly.

2. To ensure the noodles are cooked through, remove a piece and cut in half. If it's not done, there will be a white, flour-looking center in the dough. Cook 5 more minutes or so and check again. There should be no white center.

3. Add remaining minced parsley.

Amish Style Mashed potatoes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

6 large russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, and rinsed
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup milk, warmed

1. Cover potatoes with water completely. Bring to boil and then reduce to medium-high. Cook till a knife goes through the potato easily with no resistance.

2. Strain the potatoes and add 2 Tablespoons butter. Begin mashing with mixer, adding milk and salt gradually, tasting as you go. Cover and set aside.

3. Brown remaining 4 Tablespoons in skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly. You know it's ready when it turns a dark brown and the aroma turns nutty and deep. This may be the absolute best thing I've ever smelled so don't take it off too early. You'll miss this heavenly thing.

4. Place potatoes in serving bowl and drizzle browned butter over the top.

Bringing the whole thing together... 
Serve the Wiggle Glacé over a spoonful of the mashed potatoes. A green on the side is perfect. I chose a mix of greens from the garden and outdoor seating. Both greens were indeed perfect. 
Enjoy the swirls, the melting, your creation. 
Enjoy the togetherness this excuse has brought you. 
And do tell... How was it? 

Grocery list for a Wiggle Glacé supper: 
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 onion
1 bunch of parsley
4 sprigs of thyme
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour 
1 cup bread crumbs
12 Tablespoons butter
6 Russet potatoes
1 cup milk


  1. oh. well, what a treasure...to experience memories again that were, until now, forgotten! thank you katie. when i read this and see the results on the plate it takes me back! do you know the term 'synesthesia'? "a
    condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway." i can taste and smell that stuff as i look at it...
    again, thank you.

  2. Synesthesia... I love that. Thanks for your comment! I know exactly the feeling you're talking about. This dish seems to hold serious weight in my pathways as well. And I'm so glad the wiggles were that for you!
    My friends are new to the Wiggle Glace world and they were in love. :)