Fleisch Chraepfli (Flaky dough pockets with a ground beef filling)
Not that I understand it now but it is a fact: I was a competitive swimmer during elementary and middle school until an illness urged me to quit. While I walked to the practice sessions directly from school during the week, my Dad would drive me there on late Saturday afternoons. It was a rigorous two hours workout and by the time I was done, had showered, dressed and stepped out of the impressive Kongresshaus (the building the pools were located in) I usually was starving.
I loved every meal my Mom set in front of me after those practices. But my absolute favorite became her savory turnovers. When I climbed up the stairs of the apartment complex we lived in, two steps at a time, and could smell the aroma of those Fleisch Chräpfli, the emptiness in my stomach turned into a knot for a moment. Sort of like when saliva builds up in the mouth just by staring at glorious food. A few seconds of pain and joyful anticipation at once, very intensively.
Our tiny kitchen felt warm and cozy, the half moon shaped and golden brown pastries looked inviting like little pillows. They were filled with a succulent mixture of ground beef, onions, garlic, parsley and spices. My mom mastered the art of keeping the filling moist and nicely spicy while the dough remained crispy and still light. The first bite was always the best: The fight against the heat and against time – remember, I was hungry – the slight resistance of the firm and flaky pate brisee, the satisfying mess underneath. And in the end there was this wonderful harmony for both the stomach and the soul. Life literally was good then already.
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