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NPR Series: Dumpling Week

  • Jews across the world are sitting down to a big meal before Friday's Yom Kippur fast. And many of them are eating kreplach. Some say these strange-sounding-yet-good-tasting dumplings are a holiday meditation on our inner and outer selves. Or maybe they're just a delicious example of the peasant cooking of Eastern Europeans.
  • Soup dumplings are a miracle of transubstantiation, and the reciprocal of every other dumpling you've had. If they're made right, the dough will release the broth and fade away as you snap through the meaty filling.
  • Just about every culture has dumplings. For the Polish, it's pierogi, and as Morning Edition editor Renita Jablonski writes, this little dumpling plays a big role for many Polish-Americans in preserving and celebrating their heritage.
  • Dumplings are a huge part of Chinese culinary tradition, and restaurants there cater to the nation's obsession with a dazzlingly array of dumpling shapes and fillings, including green frogs stuffed with bullfrog meat and a flock of birds filled with roasted Beijing duck.
  • Regardless of what you call them — kibbeh, kubbe, kobeba — bulgur-and-wheat dumplings are a beloved staple across the Levant. And as with hummus, there are local varieties from Iraq to Egypt. In Jerusalem, kids at a cooking camp learn to make the lemony kubbeh hamusta from Kurdistan.
  • Legend has it that an innkeeper caught a glimpse of the goddess of love in her bedroom and then rushed to his kitchen to create an egg pasta inspired by Venus' belly button. Today the art of making tortellini is endangered, but several groups are devising creative ways to preserve the tradition.
  • The humble dumpling seems unencumbered by controversy until you start trying to define it. We asked three experts to weigh in. Tell us what you think, too.
  • From Warsaw to Wuhan, people around the world love dumplings. They're tasty little packages that can be made of any grain and stuffed with whatever the locals crave. But where did they come from? Some think prehistoric people may have been cooking them up.