It's almost 6 A.M. I've been cooking since 4 o'clock. First off, I mixed the noodles. Then while they had their twenty-minute rest, I started the old settler's beans and got them ready for the crockpot.
Today is the only big holiday feast I'm giving this year. Back before Cliff's heart issues were discovered ... before the quadruple bypass... I cooked like this at least once a month, and invited all nearby relatives to come and indulge. Now it happens once, or maybe twice, a year.
There can be no family feast here without chicken and noodles. A holiday dinner without noodles would be like Communion without the bread (or wine, take your pick). We don' t need gravy for our mashed potatoes, because we put noodles over our potatoes. Another family tradition.
You see, noodles take me back to the farthest reaches of my childhood memories, back to Grandma's house. There was never a family gathering without noodles; it was one of the first things anyone fed their infants, at Grandma's table: I recall hearing the phrase, "give that baby some noodles" more than once.
When I make noodles, I roll them up and cut them exactly the way she did it. My mom, in her later years, acquired a noodle-cutter, which my daughter, I believe, inherited. I wouldn't use it if I had it, because I like to do it the way it was done in my childhood. I like to think about Grandma.
Grandma would sit on a tall stool at the end her cupboard and roll out the dough and cut it just like you see I've done it, in the pictures. It fell to me, or whatever cousin was handy, to unroll the noodles as she cut them.
When I'm making noodles, I am back at Grandma's house. I can smell her little kitchen and see it exactly as it used to be. I can hear the clock ticking in the other room.
Merry Christmas, Grandma Stevens. Thanks for the memories.
By the way, while I'm being all nostalgic: at this entry on my AOL journal, you can see some pictures of our hog-killing yesterday, if you're so inclined.