Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

dumpling a term of uncertain origin which first appeared in print at the beginning of the 17th century, although the object it denotes—a small and usually globular mass of boiled or steamed dough—no doubt existed long before that. A dumpling is a food with few, indeed no, social pretensions, and of such simplicity that it may plausibly be supposed to have evolved independently in the peasant cuisines of various parts of Europe and probably in other parts of the world too. Such cuisines feature soups and stews, in which vegetables may be enhanced by a little meat. Dumplings, added to the soup or stew, are still, as they were centuries ago, a simple and economical way of extending such dishes.