June 19, 2012
STRUTH! Tasty cheaters of God a hit with naughty monks
IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that a popular dish in the Swabian region of south-western Germany has the unusual nickname of Herrgottsbescheiberle, which means "little cheaters of God."
These ravioli-like pastry pockets contain meat, spinach or other vegetables, herbs and spices and originated around four centuries ago, with some suggesting they were a way for the poor to use left-overs.
But more popular is that it was in fact naughty monks at the Maulbronn Monastery in the 17th century who created these now-popular dishes – doing so to hide meat in with the vegetables in pasta dough they ate during Lent, believing they were keeping the filling away from God's eyes during their supposed period of meat abstinence.
They called it Maulbronn Nudeltaschen ("Maulbronn Pasta Bags") which was shortened over time to Maultaschen ("mouth pockets,") and quickly earned the "little cheaters of God" nickname.
It's now popular year-round in Swabia and many other parts of Germany, and while somewhat akin to Italian ravioli is usually larger at up 12cm in diameter. It's often cut into slices and fried in a pan with onions and scrambled eggs, simmered in vegetable broth, or covered with a sauce of warm butter and onions.
(Image: Maultaschen with Salad courtesy Schwob's Original German Delicacies)