I was in a great kitchen store in Pittsburgh. It featured a 150 foot long wall of gadgets! Next to that wall I saw two women discussing a spaeztle maker. Spaetzle happens to be my favorite comfort food, and I own the same spaetzle maker. It has never functioned well for me, and I gave up on using it. So I asked the women chatting in the shop if it worked for them. They asked me why I had trouble with it, and then went on to expertly diagnose the problem I was having (making my batter too thick) and how to correct it.
I had two reactions. First…I so enjoyed being in an area of the country where home cooks actually make spaetzle, like my mother did for my birthdays when I was growing up. (I don’t know anyone else in Boston who does this.) Second….I feel all warm and tingly about mankind when strangers help each other.
Navigating the use of tools and products is one of those areas that can inspire so many positive interactions. I think this is why:
•People don’t like to see other people waste their money. Especially nowadays.
•People like to share their own expertise. It is hard-earned.
•People like to support good products and their manufacturers, so they will endorse them if the product is worthy. In my case, the spaetzle maker is absolutely fine….I just didn’t know how to use it.
•Time is precious. People like to help each other save it.
•People like to share common interests and tastes with other people. Even in the Midwest, spaetzle is not exactly common home-cook fare. So these two women and I shared an instant bond over our willingness to make it for our friends and families. (It’s kind of a pain in the neck, frankly.)
So I am really looking forward to making spaetzle this weekend for my son’s birthday. And I will think of those two women from The Burgh everytime I do.