Making Elgin Noodles

If you know, you know.

Do you know who makes the best pie, gravy, chocolate cake, or home made noodles? The list could go on and on, insert your favorite comfort food. The answer; the one who makes it.

I have busied myself today in my own kitchen. Jeff does most of the cooking now and I can barely find my way around. I am not territorial over the cooking space, I never set out to be the domestic goddess, but somewhere along the way I learned to cook.

We have a time honored traditional food at our holiday table. “The Noodles” It is hard to even admit, it has not been my favorite. Mom would loving make them each year for our holiday meals, they were a big part of dad’s family traditions and loved by all, except me. I felt like the odd man out.

I remember the last time mom made them. We were in her upper house. There was a lot of us home and mom made an extra big batch. The broth was rushed and the noodles over packed. They scorched on the bottom. Important side note: If you burn something and it is stuck to the bottom of the pan, do not scrape and stir. Simply pour it into a fresh pan and season well, maybe they won’t notice. On this day mom was rushed and there was too much happening and all the pots were full of something or another. The noodles were ladled up straight from the pan. I didn’t serve myself and first noticed my dad’s expression. He barely cleared his throat. Mmmm, “Boys you’d better help yourself.” Later he would pat my mom and say that those were some pretty good noodles. My husband had long learned this family traditions and it fast became his favorite part of our meal. He ate without hesitation. I finished my plate and to be in the family hoopla, I served a small helping. They were really bad. I didn’t finish mine and wondered if the others even noticed.

Isn’t that the way it is with love? We look past the lumpy bumpy, half done and over cooked outcomes. We stand in our knowing of what and who and how far they have come. You see my mother didn’t start out a good cook. In fact, I heard it told that when she was first married the dog didn’t t even eat her gravy. I know, she told me herself. She cooked it and dad didn’t eat it so she scraped it out for the dog. The next morning it was still there.

She didn’t give up. She had 7 older sisters-in- law. Each a craftsman at their own household specialty. Just imagine 7 accomplished mother’s- in-law. They had all doted on my dad, the baby, and each sister had their own way. Mom learned the hard way. She just kept trying. I remember one year she made the noodles out of wheat flour. They were not a hit. They looked like rubber bands in broth. It’s not funny now and believe me, it wasn’t funny then. Aunt Lucy taught mom, I remember watching. More then watching I remember feeling mom, she straighten her back, she held her mouth just right. She watched and practiced and became the noodle maker.

After my dad passed mom decided she had cooked enough. She came to our house or visited brother’s. She taught her grand daughters to make noodles and I made pie. She watched with a twinkly in her eye knowing that she has taught us well.

Today I rolled up my sleeves. Mom didn’t teach me, my daughter did. I make noodles with the left over Turkey. I have found that my plate becomes overwhelmed with to much going on. I like my noodles all alone. Savoring the flavored broth and giving thanks. My husband just finished his bowl and with a nod and a twinkle he said, “Those were some pretty good noodles, just like your mom.”

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