'Knaidel,' the Yiddish Dumpling That Won the Spelling Bee

"Knaidel" was Arvind Mahankali's winning word at the Scripps National Spelling Bee final.

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"Knaidel" was Arvind Mahankali's winning word at tonight's Scripps National Spelling Bee. And his correct answer to the spelling of the German-Yiddish word referring to a small mass of dough, was something of a coup for the speller, who was eliminated from the final three in 2011 on another Germanic word, "Jugendstil."  "The German curse has turned into a German blessing," he said after his win.

Knaidel,which is currently triggering a squiggly red spellcheck line when typed, is usually a mix of matzo meal, eggs, salt, and other foods, served in soup. They're matzo balls. You can find a recipe for one here.

After all of the drama of the previous spelling bee rounds, Mahankali went for the poker face victory celebration:

Mahankali had to spell two words correctly to clinch the title: his starter word was Tokonoma (a Japanese word meaning an niche in a wall. It sounds like it's spelled.) That's after Pranav Sivakumar, the runner up, was eliminated. 

The 13-year-old winner is from Queens, NY. Mahnkali announced after winning the trophy that he'll officially "retire" from spelling to spend more time with physics. For winning the Bee, he'll get $30,000 in cash and prizes and a giant trophy. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.