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Rainy Days and Fridays Always Get Me Down and Schnittlauch Sauce

March 18, 2011 · 19 comments

in Austria,Sauces

chive sauce image on sasasunakku

When I was a little girl, I never questioned why there was always more toilet paper stacked up than could conceivably be used in half a year, bags of rice in the spare room, boxes upon tidily packed boxes of those tissues you get handed to you in Japanese subway stations and even the rinds of watermelon were pickled so as not to waste them. Plastic bags were carefully smoothed, folded and put away, holes in towels and socks were mended, the backs and margins of supermarket flyers were kept to scribble on and the china cabinet was always filled with extra packets of tea.

mayonnaise image on sasasunakku

Now I realise that my obaachan, having lived through times of deprivation and trouble, saved things for a rainy day. And what a rainy day it is in Japan.

I know you’ve all seen the heartbreaking pictures and videos and read the ominous updates and statistics that march relentlessly down your computer screen, televisions, newspapers so I’m not going to talk about those.

What I do want to say is how touched I’ve felt seeing the outpouring of financial and emotional support everywhere on the internet from people in countries far away as well as the strength and co-operation between people in Japan, especially those nameless workers toiling to cool the nuclear reactors at great personal risk.

It’s easy these days to feel cynical and jaded with the touch-of-a-button access we have to images of tragedy, cruelty and strife from all corners of the world but if something good has come out of the earthquake, the tsunami and the crisis of the nuclear reactors, it’s the visceral feeling – as opposed just to an intellectual one – that most people truly are good and kind and want to help, would love to make a difference.

I hope it’s a feeling I can keep, in my pocket, to touch and take out sometimes, to have a look at – even on a sunny day.

schnittlauch sauce image on sasasunakku

This chive sauce is the third part of the tafelspitz series and is served with the meat but would be lovely I think as a herby mayonnaise (for that is basically what it is) for sandwiches and with vegetables or potato salad.

See part one: Tafelspitz or part two: Frittatensuppe.

How do you “waste not want not”?

Schnittlauch (Chive) Sauce

2 dry day-old white bread rolls (preferably kaiser rolls) 

250 ml (1 cup) milk

2 cooked egg yolks

2 raw egg yolks (use very fresh free-range ones here)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon mustard (grainy or not, whatever)

250 ml plain flavoured oil (such as sunflower oil)



A bunch of chives, chopped finely

Hollow the rolls out, discard the crusts and put the innards in a bowl with the milk

for a few seconds until soft.

Squeeze the bread out well and push through a fine sieve with the cooked yolks.

In another bowl, put the raw yolks, mustard and vinegar and beat, adding the oil

drop by drop until it emulsifies (becomes pale and thick) and then you can pour the

oil in in a thin stream. You can also do this in a food processor, if preferred.

Stir the bread mix and raw yolk mix together and add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the chives, serve with tafelspitz.

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Alessandra March 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

The chives sauce sounds like almost a meal in itself with all those egg yolks and bread and milk. I like the idea but I would be a bit too lazy to try to make it, but in many ways it reminds me of a salsa verde (but with chives instead of parsley).

I am so worried about those nuclear plants and everybody that lives there. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Mairi @ Toast March 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Love chives and that sauce sounds amazing. Waste not want not….left over wine in the freezer along with parmesan rinds for stews.

Kimberley March 19, 2011 at 5:00 am

My mom was raised by her grandparents and grew up with the same frugal practices, some of which I learned, and a few of which I employ. (Not enough, though! How times have changed.) I save my vegetable scraps and chicken bones and parmesan rinds in the freezer to make soup stocks. I learned how to garden from her.

You don’t happen to have a recipe for your obaachan’s pickled watermelon rinds, do you? I mean to do that every summer.

What’s happening in Japan is breaking my heart on a daily basis. Reminding me to be a little more thankful for all that I’ve got.

Sasa March 21, 2011 at 10:01 am

Will ask her when I speak to her next ^_^

catty March 19, 2011 at 7:36 am

It is a bit hard to talk about the situation in Japan, and at the same time it is hard not to talk about it. All I can say is I’m glad your loved ones, and the loved ones of others I know, are all accounted for and safe. My heart aches over the stories that keep coming out of children not finding their parents :(

Anyway, herby mayonnaise FTW! I looooove chives so this is probably perfect for moi :)


flo March 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

Ahh, yet another heartbreaking story, Saya! Gambarre nippon, ne!

Millie March 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Mmm chives!

My obaachan’s got a bit of that saving for a rainy day thing going on as well. And when we go out to eat it’s always a buffet restaurant and she’ll pile food on her plate like her life depends on it… I always thought it was funny but I guess it’s also having lived through that wartime deprivation. I wish I could say I was as frugal but I do the little things people have mentioned, like freezing chicken bones and egg whites and parmesan rinds and vegetable scraps, making and freezing stock, etc.

hungryandfrozen March 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

You’re such a beautiful writer :) I’m a bit of a hoarder, not that I’ve lived in times of hardship – neither did my mum, but her mum having gone through WWII, and her mother going through WWI – and so on – some things filter down through the line. These days I can’t throw out food – I have little containers and half-cups of stuff all through the fridge – or plastic bags, which get folded up and put in the third draw down – and ummmm I always steal little sugar packets from cafes. But they’ve come in handy, my partner’s diabetic and sometimes when we’re out and about he gets low blood sugar, and suddenly those sugar packets in my purse come into their own!

Suzy March 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

My grandmother still has two freezers, stocked full and an entire room of dry stores under lock and key. She was 1 of 8 children in the country and then spent most of her life under a communist regime. She still fears she doesn’t have enough… and hoards like you wouldn’t believe.
My favourite past time as a child, was breaking into her chocolate stores : )

sally March 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I know what you mean about being easily jaded…Didn’t know what to do other than link to CNN articles etc…so I donated blood to the relief effort. Hopefully it goes to the crisis asap. I suppose I should practice this ‘waste not want not’ more often. Nothing comes to mind…

sally March 20, 2011 at 10:02 pm

The US Red Cross relief effort, if that does anything – I don’t know cuz of politics.

Alli March 21, 2011 at 12:21 am

I suppose most of have grand parents who have seen hard times, I have some treasured recipes from my Gran that were adapted to war time rations. But we don’t really understand until it we are closely affected by it like we have been in the past month.

I love the schnittlauch sauce, i used to dip my fries in it!

SMITH BITES March 21, 2011 at 12:44 am

My grandfather saved the aluminum gum wrappers and burned out light bulbs – not sure what he was going to do with those, but he lived through the depression where the only job he could get was milking cows; payment was in milk to bring home to his family (my father) to drink with bread. and sometimes that’s all they had.

the news out of Japan is so cruel and the work, daunting; my heart breaks for the people of Japan and yes, most people, regardless of what country they live in, are good people with the same hopes/dreams we all have for ourselves, our families and our children.

am so glad you said this chive sauce would be good on potato salad as that is exactly how i would use it!

hugs Sasa

Anna March 21, 2011 at 2:47 am

Holy Schnittlauch! YUM! :)
I’m all for the ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ mentality. Our fridge never has anything left over to go to waste, our freezer is jam packed with yummy delights cooked from food that prob would have gone off.

Marietta March 21, 2011 at 9:54 am


beautiful article as always… I guess for me my obaachan’s place was always like a little treasure fairy tale house…you could find anything you wished for stored in various places.. My mother, is also storing things, canned food, plastic bags, any kind of papers… same as her mother..even though she lives in Greece for 35 years now…and currently..i find myself storing things at the “new” apartment with the beau… from food, to toilet paper , to rubber bands and waste things… but my case is a combination of not wanting to throw away things together with being used to doing so…

the mustard!!!! oh the mustard!! xxx

Sasa March 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

Old habits die hard dayone ^_^

Sasa March 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

Thanks for your tips and stories – some of them are sweet and some funny and some both, although I suspect that the funniness comes from being fortunate enough never to have experienced true want myself.

heidi leon March 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

This chive sauce looks very appealing, I think it will work perfectly alongside a smoked trout or salmon and potatos salad. umm. (hungry now).

My parents tend to buy a lot of everything, when au contraire my in laws they buy just the neccesary; but they have a wonderful pantry with homemade jams, pickles, sauce and are very attentive to never waste anything.

My husband and I try to follow my in laws tradition, also, my husband has reached a point where he cannot see any more food waste (since he works at a big hotel and there is a lot of food waste).

Finally, I agree with you, altought the situation in Japan is very worrying and sad, I am happy to see so many countries are giving a hand to Japan. I have confidence in the strength and discipline of the Japanese people and I keep praying for them.

Lana March 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I stayed glued to the TV for a couple of days, my heart breaking with every passing moment. I admire the people of Japan, their determination, strength, and the connection to the community.
Yes, I also believe that people are inherently good. Thinking otherwise would make for many nightmares.
I grew up with parents and grandparents that saved, bought in bulk, recycled, and hoarded. Every 30 to 40 years there was a war, and each generation suffered through hunger and scarcity. A lot of that I practice, much to my American husband’s amusement.
But when he lost his job, he stopped laughing at my neatly folded squares of aluminum foil, saved gift bags and bows, holiday trinkets, and plastic yogurt containers. You never know what lurks around the corner and it’s always better to be prepared.
We did not pickle the watermelon rind, but rather made preserves out of it! Still frugal, but sweet:)
I like the sauce for its versatility and freshness.

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