Luxembourgish students at Miami share kniddelen with Oxford community


Photo by Emily Scott

Oxford Farmers Market Chef Steve Townsend cooks up the kniddelen to serve to guests at the farmers market.

By Emily Scott

When Miami students and Oxford residents arrived at the Oxford Farmers Market Saturday, Sept. 4, the smell of bacon cut through the crisp morning air. As they walked closer, they could see a large white tent where people were handing out freshly prepared food. After waiting in line, a smiling face handed them a steaming hot bowl of — kniddelen? 

President and Founder of LUAM Claudia Zaunz drops an egg in her third batch of kniddelen. In all, 45 eggs went into the Luxembourgish dumplings sold last Saturday at the Oxford Farmers Market. Photo by Emily Scott

The Luxembourgish Students at Miami (LUAM) brought a Taste of Luxembourg to Oxford. kniddelen is a traditional fried Luxembourgish dish that can be compared to dumplings or perogies, although they have no potatoes. It is traditionally made with bacon, but LUAM also provided a vegetarian option. 

“Sharing culture is really special and food is such a big part of culture,” LUAM President and Founder Claudia Zaunz said. She is a senior journalism and English literature student from Luxembourg.  Full disclosure – she is also a reporter for the Oxford Observer.

“I think that we were able to provide a unique Luxembourgish experience to participants. Many have never seen this dish. But honestly, what could go wrong if you have butter, bacon and dough? It was easy to get Americans to try it,” she said. 

The dish was free, but the group asked for donations to help fund the club. 

LUAM members said people who came up to the booth to try kniddelen seemed very interested in the food and in Luxembourgish culture. One student, senior Zoe Edelmann, was traveling abroad in Luxembourg for the spring 2020 semester before she was sent home due to the coronavirus pandemic. She said that having this stand at the farmers market brought her back to her trip abroad, and made her more disappointed that it was cut short. 

Claudia Zaunz hands out a bowl of kniddelen to Miami grad student JD Rudie at the Oxford Farmers Market. He came with friends Ivan Wehner and Tim Binnig. All three enjoyed their first dish of kniddelen. Photo by Emily Scott

“The food is really good,” Edelmann said about the kniddelen she tried from LUAM. “This is such a good way to expose people to Luxembourgish culture. Miami has a relationship with the country, but I think so many people are still unaware of what Luxembourgish culture is.”

Steve Townsend was the chef who helped LUAM bring Luxembourgish cuisine to Oxford. He is currently a chef for Upper Crust, which caters for Miami Greek life. He has also been working with the Oxford Farmers Market the past 10 years to do live cooking demonstrations. 

He said he usually goes into the farmers market with little to no idea of what he will be preparing that week. He likes that LUAM is trying to bring new culture to Oxford, and said he is trying to work with other international student groups to do the same. 

“I always try what I am making,” Townsend said. “It was tiring making everything, but the food turned out delicious.” 

LUAM served 217 people. They used 45 eggs, 25 pounds of flour, two gallons of milk, five pounds of broccoli, five pounds of carrots, four onions, nine peppers, four sticks of butter and 15 pounds of bacon. 

The club did a similar demonstration last semester. They tried to do all the work at the farmers market, which Zaunz learned was hard to do. This year, they did some preparation the night before and made a lot more food. 

The kniddelen preparation was done at graduate student Sarah Simões’ apartment. The members who helped that day made the dough, boiled it, made a sauce and cut up all the vegetables needed for the next morning. They worked for seven hours, and still had to do more preparation at the farmers market so they did not run out too early.

Try this at home! The official LUAM recipe for traditional kniddelen. Photo by Emily Scott

“Our event went really well,” Simões said. “We made the perfect amount of food and ran out at the right time, right before the market was over.” 

Simões came to Miami from Luxembourg in the fall of 2020 for a transfer program. She enjoyed the campus and the friends she made, so she decided to come back to pursue a master’s degree in English education. She said she joined LUAM because “it is a nice connection to home.” 

Zaunz said LUAM plans on doing another event like this in the future. She liked talking to different people in the community and telling them about where she is from. Her goal with the event was to give back to Oxford, and she thought this was the best and easiest way to do that. 

“It was a very special and diverse experience,”  Zaunz said. “People walked by and didn’t even know they were going to try something they’d never heard about before.”