… in the mayor’s words
Lil Vienna’s souls, virtual mayors, treasurers and strategists are true Austrians, living in and loving Boston’s quiet neighbor Cambridge.
Ursula’s the soul of Li’l Vienna, future mayor and head chef. She’s a journalist on a (food) mission. Wrote a lot of articles on health and food for a large Viennese newspaper (derStandard.at), all in German though. She sees herself more like a princess than a queen, because queens are old and mean. She would make a great mayor.
David’s helping out on ideas and stuff. Besides the Li’l Vienna mission, he’s doing some rocket science at MIT. Btw, he doesn’t like having his picture taken.
Oh, and if you find weird spelling or grammar, that’s totally on purpose. It creates that unique foreign/European vibe ;-) But if you insist, you can please contact us, and the mayor will gladly arrange according changes (or not ;-).
… in real life
Who we are
I’m Ursula and the person right next to me is my husband David. I develop recipes, have fun to excessively test-cook them (I love you, my kitchen scale), take pictures and write about it on the blog. David is test eater and food critic – and in charge of the tech support. As if this wouldn’t be enough, he is doing some rocket science at MIT (no kidding).
Besides blogging, I am a (food) journalist, cooking instructor for Austrian cuisine and bread at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Cambridge, MA, and a hobby potter at MIT.
Having spent our childhood and teens in small Austrian villages, we were both ready for a bigger city after high school. I moved to Salzburg and Vienna for college, with semesters abroad in Salamanca (Spain), and Chicago. David moved to Brazil for a year and later went to University in Vienna & Chicago. All of these cities broadened our culinary horizons.
In 2014, my husband, David, and I moved to the Boston area. David is an aerospace engineer at MIT and I am working as a cooking instructor. In addition, I am writing a cooking column about U.S. food for the Viennese daily “Der Standard” (see Boston Globe article). We have moved 11 times in the last 12 years, and have cooked on 14 different stoves during this time. All these trips and moves are reflected in my cooking, but I have never loosened the grip of my deliciously strong Austrian roots.
What we eat and cook
We mostly eat seasonal, local, and whenever possible and if not too expensive, organic foods. I love to cook unfussy, simple, honest, one-bowl, and less than 30-minute dishes. Most of my recipes are straight-forward and don’t have fussy ingredients. Every once in a while, I am cooking something a little more complex. Often, those kind of dishes will be of Austrian origin – like apple strudel from scratch or Austrian-style donuts.
By heritage and taste, I am a huge carb-lover (hello, pasta!). I simply cannot resist anything closely or remotely related to pancakes. These flour-egg-milk based dishes are my comfort food, be it sweet meals like Palatschinken (crêpes), Buchteln (sweet, filled yeast buns), and Blueberry Nocken (tiny fluffy blueberry pancakes), or savory dishes like Käsespätzle (Austria’s mac & cheese). We eat those dishes at any time of the day and not exclusively for breakfast. Sweet dishes served as a main course might sound odd, but once you have tried it, you will love it. Learn more about this weird habit in my Food52-article about Palatschinken (Austrian crepes).
David and I both have a soft spot for spaghetti with sundried tomato pesto (why is this pesto not more popular in the U.S.?), tacos, BBQ, and gin.
I love to cook vegetarian dishes even though I am not a vegetarian. Baking bread makes me happy – so I’ve decided to pass on this skill to other people through bread classes that I teach here in Cambridge. And, I love the magic of science in the kitchen, which makes me experiment with fermenting all kinds of stuff like pickles, sourdough, and yogurt. Btw, if you are in the area, check out Harvard’s fantastic Science and Cooking lecture.
So if you want to try some divine Austrian classics like apple strudel or cheese spaetzli, or want to get to know some lesser known family recipes, you will find them in the category “Li’l Vienna”.
David and I are also two travel nuts (40+ countries and couting). We have always been traveling since the moment we got a couple (we met in high school, just saying). Our love to travel lead us to a 9 month trip around the world a few years ago. That’s why you will also find dishes from all over the world. We particularly love Thai and Indian cuisine …. and all the others too, of course. If you are interested in international cuisine, the “and the World” category might just be the place for you.
Moving to the U.S. greatly affected my cooking style and recipes. I have always been a fan of the classic American bar fare and would never turn my back on a juicy burger or loaded nachos. We are always stocked up on homemade salted caramel sauce for ice cream, waffles, and pancakes. Having said that, you’ll find all these great dishes in our “Boston & the USA” category.
What we don’t eat
We are not picky eaters at all. Even though I didn’t eat fish for the first three decades of my life, I do now – especially raw. Here you can learn more why I changed my mind. Seafood, except fish, is really the only thing we are not particularly fond of. You won’t find anything lobstery or shrimpy here on the blog. <ironic> It’s a good thing that we living in Boston, a city built on seafood. </ironic>
Also, even though I am not a vegetarian, I prefer a vegetarian and plant-based diet. Every once in a while, you will find meat dishes here on the blog, but it’s not our top priority. Oh, and we don’t eat meat of baby animals like veal or lamb. The thought of eating those cute animals creeps me out. It was pretty easy to make David think the same way. I would be a vegetarian in no time if I wouldn’t be so weak in resisting the occasional burger, pulled pork sandwich or tender beef brisket. David isn’t sure yet if he likes chia pudding or not. He thinks it’s kind of weird. But since I am the cook around here, you’ll find chia pudding on the blog – if he likes it or not. Stay tuned for his final decision.
What is our background in food
I am a food and health journalist from Austria with 10 years of work experience writing for the food section of the Viennese daily ‘Der Standard’. For more than 3 years, since moving to the U.S., I have been writing my own cooking column about U.S. food (see Boston Globe article). I am a cooking instructor at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education where I teach classes about Austrian Bread and Austrian cuisine. I have no formal culinary training though, so I rely on trial and error. I am an excessive recipe tester for that reason.
David’s food background: He likes to eat my food.
Our favorite kitchen tools
Ursula: My favorite kitchen tool is my digital scale. I guess that is rooted in my European genes ;-) In addition, I do add all ingredient measurements in cups and spoons since I’ve been living in Cambridge for a few years now and have taken on that habit.
David: A sponge. For washing Ursula’s dishes.
May I use your pictures or recipes on my site?
We work really hard to provide unique content for our readers. Since I develop recipes and take food pictures for a living, all of the content and images are copyrighted, which means that you need permission if you want to use them.
For commercial and editorial use, just send an email to ask.
For personal blogs/sites:
Sharing Little Vienna’s recipes: At this time, I don’t allow republication of my recipes without prior consent. Copy-pasting them onto websites and blogs will negatively affect how Little Vienna gets displayed in the search results. Plus, as I’ve mentioned above, I do this for a living so there are copyright issues.
What you are welcome to do, is to publish a recipe-picture with a short teaser (no recipe copy-pasting) on your site if you link back to the original Little Vienna recipe post.
Sharing adapted recipes: If you like one of my recipes and want to repost the recipe on your site, please adapt it to your preference AND re-write it (including the recipe title) in your own words. Also: Please give credit to Little Vienna as the origin (link back to the recipe post) and let your readers know, that you’ve adapted the recipe from our site. We think this practice is only fair given the amount of work we put in.
Sharing our pictures: If you want to share a picture, please link back to Lilvienna.com or to the post directly.
For specific inquiries, drop me an email. Thank you!
Thanks for dropping by. We hope you enjoy our recipes.