Dumplings for the Win at the National Spelling Bee

By Justine Sterling Posted May 31, 2013
Motzo Ball Soup

Motzo Ball Soup © Lucy Schaeffer

America's collective obsession with food was on full display at the Scripps National Spelling Bee last night. 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali seized the win by correctly spelling knaidel, a German-derived Yiddish word that means dumpling or matzoh ball. Others would have fared better had they studied a culinary dictionary. While one contestant made it to the next round with lefse (a thin Norwegian potato pancake), and another correctly spelled tournedos (a small fillet of beef from the tenderloin), two were wiped out by very delicious-sounding words. Cipollino, which means little onion, destroyed the dreams of one youngster. Melocoton, a fruit created by grafting a peach onto a quince, dashed the hopes of another. Following his win, Arvind announced that he would be retiring from spelling to concentrate on physics, but F&W stopped paying attention after hearing the word dumpling.

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