In the last three months, we’ve dusted off and mixed up some old family recipes.
One of our favorites is the hamburger and cabbage stuffed rolls my mom used to make. Rhubarb pie is another tried and true family recipe. We’ve also had more than our usual share of cream cheese-filled bread twists and ice cream cake dessert.
I even baked an old but not-so-favorite dish consisting of cornbread and maple syrup that I ended up finishing off myself.
Some old family tastes must not get passed down. One recipe that we are pulling out of the family cookbook this week is for homemade noodles.
On noodle-making day when I was growing up my mom would mix only just a few ingredients together in her large Kitchen-Aid mixer – eggs and flour with a little salt and a little milk. She’d have to play with the recipe a little to make the dough just the right consistency. If it’s too sticky you can’t work with it and if it’s too dry, it’s nearly impossible to roll out.
The rolling out part is the worst of the noodle-making process. If you’ve ever rolled out pie crust or even Play Dough, you know that it’s fairly easy to push your rolling pin around a bit until you have a fourth-inch thick slab on the counter.
Rolling out noodles is similar to that except the dough is three times as dry and is like trying to flatten out a piece of thick leather.
Once Mom had the tough dough rolled out into three-foot by three-foot sheets of paper-thin dough, she’d carefully cut them into narrow noodles. These long strips would them be carefully separated and laid out on waxed paper on our long kitchen table to dry. Once dry, they were packaged and frozen for later use, although they didn’t stay in the freezer for long. A favorite dish was boiled up and drained homemade noodles salted and smothered with melted butter. These noodles were never wasted on soups or pasta dishes.
My 2020 noodle-making experience varies a bit from my mom’s.
Although I use her same recipe and mix the dough in a similar-sized Kitchen-Aid mixer,
I have a manual noodle-making machine to make the noodles. All you do is take a fist-sized lump of noodle dough, press it into a flat pad then force it into the cylinder of the machine that is cranked slowly pushing the dough through metal slots that form the perfect noodles on the opposite end. No tedious rolling out and cutting.
The noodles still have to be separated and laid out to dry, which is one of the best parts of noodle making as there’s nothing like eating a few stray dry delicious homemade noodles, just like there’s nothing like passing on family food traditions to your kids.