Mariah Carey has a magnificent vocal range - 5 octaves, to be exact, which is about twice the range some of the most talented and trained voices out there have. I used to drive my mother (probably my whole family, actually) crazy when I was a young teen and Mariah had just hit the scene. I have every album through Butterfly, when she started getting a little too "hip hop" for my tastes at that time (a world-weary 19-year-old...). Having been trained as a coloratura soprano, I was completely enthralled by her ability to hit higher notes than Sarah Brightman in Phantom of the Opera. I later learned that these notes, seemingly only contained in Mariah's range and no other's, are referred to as the "whistle register." When sung frequently enough, they are enough to stretch my mother's patience and pierce even a dog's ears, but I find them amazing even to this day.
Why all this talk of music on a [primarily] food blog? Because the wind outside my home was doing its best Mariah Carey impression today and now I can more fully appreciate my mother's distress when I would pop in Ms. Carey's tapes[!] and CDs back-to-back on multi-hour road trips.
Of course, all the howling wind and driving rain made for the perfect day to finally make Homey Vegetable Stew with Dumplings. A little heavy on the spelt flour, though it has a very amenable flavor which I could get used to - I'm not sure it needed to serve as both a soup thickening agent and dense dumplings dotting the stew.
I have to say, due to the wetness of the batter that was to become these substantial little dumplings, I did not actually think they would "bake" or whatever cooked them. Imagine my surprise when I took the lid off the pot and saw these fluffy little buggers! I served up two dumplings each with thick, savory stew to Mister and to me, accompanied by a simple but tasty salad of mixed greens, kalamatas, carrots, and dried cranberries.
Exhausted by the effort of not being eaten by the banshees outside the wet windows, there was a little chair dumpling as well: