Drop or Roll

The dumpling-eaters are a race sprung partly from the old Epicurean and partly from the Peripatetic Sect; they were first brought into Britain by Julius Caesar; and finding it a Land of Plenty, they wisely resolved never to go home again.

John Arbuthnot

If you thought that, the war between Tilly and me was over well you thought wrong.  Calling a friend of mine to tell her of the latest conversation concerning dumplings, explaining to her that rolled her dumplings were noodles, not dumplings, she still sided with Tilly. I was taken aback. But now have touched on something I prize dearly. Dumplings, that’s right dumplings. Drop dumplings, versus the lazy ass way of rolling out the dough, making lil bitty square noodle, and calling that a dumpling.

Tilly: Bravo, your friend! Square dumplings? And how are they noodles …? I’ve never rolled out the dough to make dumplings. It’s quicker to roll portions in my (wet) hands

Now, I know that you are thinking that rolled vs dropped is not that important. Look at it this way – lazy vs doing what’s right.

Now, just what is a dumpling? What is a noodle?




  • a small ball of dough (= flour and water mixed together) cooked and eaten with meat and vegetables
  • a small amount of fruit covered in a sweet dough and baked example Apple dumplings




[C usually plural] a food in the form of long thin strips made from flour or rice, water, and often egg, which you cook in boiling liquid

egg/rice noodles, instant/crispy noodles, chicken noodle soup

Now, having reminded Tilly of just what a dumpling really is, onward and upward.

Tilly: When did I not know what comprises a dumpling?

Olive: In an email comment, dated 6/7/2023 “Roll your hem then drop them in the soup or stew. Xxx”

Where did dumplings originate? Well, that is something that college-educated history people just don’t know.  Dumplings just kind of showed up one day. They showed themselves in China, India, and right here in the Common Wealth of Virginia. Seems the local people not only greeted the boats that showed on the horizon, but they taught those first settlers how to make dumplings, among other foods.  They did not roll them either!

Tilly: They may not have rolled them like pastry but I bet they rolled the dough in their hands to create the dumplings!

The earliest recorded recipe is from that Apicius fellow in ancient Rome.

Apicius offered three different recipes for these little delights you can read my favourite below:

[49] Dumplings and Hydrogarym [Hydrogarata Isicia]

Crush pepper, lovage and just a suspicion of pellitory moisten with stock and well water, allow it to draw, place it in a saucepan, boil it down, and strain. Poach your little dumplings or forcemeat in this liquor and when they are done served in a dish for isicia, to be sipped at the table.

Tilly: It’s a safe bet that others don’t know about pellitory: Known as Bertram, Akarkara, or Pellitory, this is likely one of the healthiest and most versatile plants you have never heard of. It is commonly referred to by many names, including Akarkara (in Ayurveda), Spanish Chamomile (Anacyclus pyrethrum), Mount Atlas Daisy, Bertram, or Pellitory, but not to be confused with pellitory-of-the-wall. (see below) Bertram or pellitory is a perennial herb much like chamomile in appearance. Most Hildegard translations of Physica refer to Bertram (Anacyclus pyrethrum) as Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), because both bear a resemblance to chamomile. Indigenous to North Africa, India, and the Mediterranean, the plant was later cultivated in central Europe.ellitory is a plant. The root is used to make medicine. In Hildegard’s Physica, she recommends “…the healthy eat Bertram, because it reduces bad juices, and multiplies the good in human blood, and makes a clear mind. For a patient who is physically run down, Bertram brings back his strength. It leaves nothing in humans undigested, and it prepares the body for good digestion when eaten diligently. It reduces the mucilage in the head, and leads to purifying juices, which purify the eyes. Whether you eat it dry, or in cooked foods, Bertram is as useful to a sick person as to a healthy man. Bertram shoos illness from its host and prevents falling ill. It brings moisture and saliva back to the mouth, and returns us good health.”

People take pellitory for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), seizure disorder (epilepsy), enhancing male libido and vitality in Ayurvedic medicine, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems.

Parietaria judaica, with common names spreading pellitory or pellitory-of-the-wall, is a species of herbaceous perennial plant in the family Urticaceae. The plant’s pollen is highly allergenic. In Australia, it is also known as asthma weed, due to the high incidence of allergy. It is unrelated to the herb pellitory.

What is pellitory good for? People take pellitory-of-the-wall for fluid retention, constipation, and cough. They also take it for a variety of urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney pain, and kidney stones. Sometimes people apply pellitory-of-the-wall directly to the skin for treating burns and wounds.

So now you Know!

Oive: Dr. Tilly has spoken.

Neither history nor the recipe has changed much. That is until they reached Tillys British shores.  In fact, it might have been the British that gave them their name, around the early 1600s in the Norfolk area. Possibly, from the German word Dampfnudel.  The Norfolk dumpling is the most common dumpling made here in the Southern region of the U.S.  Made from flour and a raising agent with either broth or water mixed in and dropped into a well-seasoned broth.

Tilly: Dampfnudel: wet and naked noodle! Hah! opped into a well-seasoned broth.

Recipe for dumplings:

Recipe makes 6 dumplings

1 cup all-purpose flour   (125 g)

2 teaspoons baking powder (9 g)

1 teaspoon white sugar (4 g)

1/2 teaspoon salt (3 g)

1-tablespoon margarine (15 g)

1/2 cup milk (120 ml)


Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in medium-size bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk to make a soft dough.

Drop by spoonful’s into boiling stew. Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid. serve

Tilly: Why the sugar? And please, please, please substitute butter for margarine, which is horrid stuff.

Olive: It cuts the taste of the flour.

Tilly: But if the dough balls are properly cooked, with the addition of seasoning, you won’t taste the flour …

To make parsley dumplings, add 1-tablespoon parsley flakes to the dry ingredients.

Quick and easy way for all those busy families:

1 cup chicken broth  ( 236.6 ml)

1 1/4 cups self-rising flour (295.718 ml)

1/2 teaspoon salt (2.464 ml)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (2.464 ml)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (2.464 ml)

1 tablespoon butter (14.786 ml)

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives (29-9/16 ml)

1 (10.5-ounce) can of your favourite condensed cream soup

Options: if cooking beef or pork you can use cream of celery, mushroom, onion etc… If cooking chicken use cream of chicken or most any other cream soup.

Tilly: Grated cheese makes for tasty dumplings. So does a hefty dollop of horseradish sauce – good with beef stews. Veal, pork, and chicken stews are delicious with gremolata – parsley, lemon, garlic, with almonds or anchovies chopped in, if you fancy.

Sift the flour, salt, garlic powder, and pepper into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Combine the butter into flour with your hands until well incorporated. Add the chives and the soup. Mix together well with your hands to form a soft dumpling dough. Drop the dumpling dough by the tablespoonful’s into the strained liquid with an additional 1 cup of chicken/beef stock. Cook the dumplings for 8 to 10 minutes.

Tilly: Pity it is summer. Might make a stew with gremolata dumplings anyway!

“The dumplings had the flavor of paradise, and the broth spread through my veins like a secret that’s fun to keep.”

Lemony Snicket, When Did You See Her.


Olive and Tilly

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  • Jerry Bell

    I love dumplings. I don’t care if they come from somewhere around the world or in my own kitchen. It is true that the taste of them depends on where on earth you stand. But here’s the deal. While I’ve had some dumplings that were not very good, most I’ve had have been wonderful. I cannot wait to take some of the suggestions mentioned here for flattering my taste buds.
    Thank you ladies one again!

    • Olive

      Thank you for your comment. I love dumplings also. The quick an easy one has such great flavor. It is near the end. I have used cream of chicken soup and also cream of mushroom soup.

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