Yesterday was a long day. Amidst unusually balmy weather in the afternoon, I prepared a full Christmas feast for my family and in-laws. This may be a monster post. My family left Chicago at 5:15 this morning, so once they arrived they were tired, but also really hungry. I set out a veggie try with some of Alton Brown’s Zesty California Onion Dip. My mom is so hilarious. I think she generally assumes she won’t like things I make, so her response to the onion dip was, “Wow. This is actually not bad. Try it Dave. It’s not too bad.”
Brent and I both love potato chips with french onion dip. You know, the gross partially hydrogenated stuff, so to be able to make it at home with only a few ingredients is great. The dip was really good. I highly recommend it.
While we were all sitting around munching, my mom realized she had forgotten a key component of the feast: our family’s “Country-Ass Noodles.” They had been made on Christmas, and mom was supposed to bring them to my house to enjoy with dinner, but she forgot. My dad gave them the nickname, but I think it fits. My sister demanded that our dad make the noodles while the turkey was cooking, and after a good hour of discussion, my mom and dad ran to the store for the noodle-making supplies. The only two ingredients in the noodles are eggs and Bisquick mix. There is no exact recipe for these noodles, but they depend heavily on good texture and thickness. Normally my grandmother is in charge of the noodling. She has reluctantly passed the torch to my father, but even at the age of 53, he is still only an apprentice and needed to call his mother once or twice to ensure he was doing everything properly. In the process, he was also trying to teach my younger brother and sister as well. My father, brother and sister each grabbed one of my aprons and went to work.
Sarah was in charge of rolling the noodles, a fact which I think padre may have regretted. He kept saying, “Geez Sarah lay off the flour, will ya?” Padre kept trying to guide her, but she felt her work was up to par and she didn’t need any help. Here they are feeling the dough to see if it will be good enough.
After flattening the dough, it is then rolled into a log, and sliced. Zack was put in charge of the slicing, while my dad supervised. The thickness of the slices is, apparently, a source of contention. My grandmother informed my mom that when she made the noodles on Christmas day, my mom cut the noodles too thin. My mom however, thinks that the noodles today were too thick, but no one really listened to her, because as someone who doesn’t eat the noodles, her opinion isn’t considered relevant.
Once sliced, the noodles are then unraveled into long strings. Padre felt that some of the slices were not cut properly and rather than unraveling, they were just turning into a clumpy mess. There is no greater sin than clumpy noodles. Fortunately after a few batches, the kids got the hang of it, and Zack felt he made the “best noodle ever.”
Eventually the noodle unraveling was complete and they entered the drying phase. The noodles are left uncovered for a few hours (or even less) to dry out before they are then soaked in broth.
While padre and the kids were hard at work noodling, my mother was upstairs reading, but she did eventually make in back downstairs to the party to participate in this lovely photo op with Brent. She, who does not even like the noodles, also managed to tell padre and the kids what they were doing wrong, but that’s kind of just her style.
Once the turkey was done cooking, we brought the broth that collected in the bottom of the roasting pan to a slight boil in a large pot, and cooked the noodles in it for about 5 minutes. We used my new cast iron pot, which I love, but my dad thought it took quite a long time to heat up. I think he may have just been impatient for the noodles to be done.
And that dear readers, is how you make “country-ass noodles.” These noodles are probably a “born into it” kind of thing. I’m not sure everyone would love them. Brent did a search on the internet and was shocked to discover that the recipe originated on the back of the Bisquick box from 1959. I was too. I kind of always just assumed that some great grandmother came up with the idea out of necessity. Padre was glad that despite a rocky start, the noodles came out well, and he was able to share them with my in-laws.
We ate A LOT of other food yesterday, but I’ll include the rest of the meal, as well as the post-dinner hilarity in another post. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon!