Friday, January 28, 2011

"My Favorite Food"-- 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

Oh boy, comfort food! MOM’S HOMEMADE NOODLES

From the time I was a little kid, this was it. My all time favorite was most definitely Mom’s noodles. On the days that Mom got up early to go to work and I was getting ready for school, she would roll out a batch of noodles in the morning to dry. Since I loved to eat anyway and her noodles were an extra draw, those days at school were some of the hardest. Watching that big old wall clock all day eagerly waiting for the three o’clock bell so I could hurry home knowing that chicken and noodles were on the evening dinner menu.

My Mom and her mother were great cooks and making noodles was just one of those things that were passed down from one generation to another. I had an Aunt who lived in California for years and she was also a very good cook but claimed that she could never make good noodles. Several times a year my mother would stir up a few batches of noodles, cut and dry them and then mail bags of them to Aunt Stella in California and  later after she moved to Arizona Mom still mailed noodles to her. Mom's noodles were always rolled out by hand, and cut by hand as she never owned one of those little machines to feed dough into that cuts them perfect. Perfect is a matter of perception, however, as Mom’s were as near to perfect as a noodle can get! My husband’s Grandma Alda made awesome homemade noodles too and we always asked her to make noodles when we would go to Wyoming to visit. I’m sure they were made nearly the same as my Mom’s and Grandma’s were wonderful even though slightly a different taste than Mom’s. They were distinctly Grandma’s. My own Grandma had a sister who lived in Broken Bow, Nebraska and as a child we would ride the train east and go to visit her. I can see and taste her noodles to this day, even though she has been gone for many years. I don’t know how hers were made or just what ingredients she used but I always called them “old fashioned” noodles. Great Aunt Kate would bring them to the table, thick with heavy chicken sauce (actually a heavy greasy or buttery type sauce). She always used good old country and farm raised hens and until her death she cooked on an old fashioned big heavy cook stove. She never owned a modern stove to my knowledge and her biscuits and noodles were really wonderful.

Some great things that my Mom cooked, I have never been able to duplicate to perfection but I do love to make noodles and mine do taste just like Mom’s. My youngest son now makes homemade noodles for his family of ten and even though his wife is a FACS teacher and an awesome cook herself, our son also loves to cook and the noodles are his to make when it is time for them to be on their menu. My favorite pairing is with chicken but on occasion I like to use beef tips instead as both are tasty and my Dad loved noodles stewed with fresh pheasant.  Noodles, like ancestors, are just part of our family!

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow- chicken and homemade noodles is my favorite, my comfort food, not only for the eating but also for the wonderful memories that always come to mind.

Mom’s noodles
No exact recipe as I don’t have one, just ingredients and a general how to:

6-8 eggs    whisked or beaten in a large bowl.
Add flour, a pinch of salt, and about 1 tsp of baking powder for the 6-8 egg recipe. Keep adding flour until a moist dough that sticks together good is formed. Turn the dough out onto a well floured pastry cloth and work in just a bit more flour by turning the dough over a couple times. The first secret to good tender noodles, according to my mother was not to handle the dough very much and not to add too much flour, making the dough overly stiff.

Roll out the dough as thin as possible and let it dry for 2-3 hours, uncovered.

Roll the dough up, sprinkling with enough flour to keep the layers from sticking together. Cut ¼ inch slices off of the rolled noodle log, then cut the pieces up again and spread them out on the cloth to air dry. I usually leave them to dry for 4-6 hours. They can then be bagged, refrigerated and used in a couple days or they freeze well too.

If you boil a chicken to use, remove the meat to a serving plate and bring broth to a boil, add the dried noodles, stirring to keep them from clumping as adding. When they start to just boil again, reduce the heat to the point of a low simmer as they will easily scorch and stick if cooked too high. Simmer UNCOVERED, as that is the second secret to tender noodles. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and until they are soft. Add chicken pieces and serve over mashed potatoes.

(Click on the any photo to enlarge--)

A warning: freeze the dry noodles if you are not using them fairly soon, this is not a scientific recipe so use your own judgment as to preparation and storage!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – “Favorite Food” suggested by:
Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (

Family Recipe Friday suggested by:
Lynn Palermo of The Arm Chair Genealogist(

Geneabloggers, weekly and daily blog prompts:     Geneabloggers

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