A lady I once knew believed that if she ate a chicken, she ought also to have raised it and executed it. She did not extend this holistic principle to all aspects of her life; rather, she inserted it here and there. Andy Crouch, in his article “Eating the Supper of the Lamb In A Cool Whip Society” considers this sort of insistence on doing some things the hard way a good thing.
Mr. Crouch’s article is primarily an overview of philosopher Albert Borgmann’s ideas about how technology affects society and individuals. The food prepared for us courtesy of these technologies highlights Mr. Crouch’s discussion. A convenient container of Cool Whip, for example, is a high-tech production made for us out of these ingredients:
“Water, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oils, corn syrup, sugar, sodium caseinate, dextrose, polysorbate 60, natural and artificial flavors, sorbitan monostearate, xanthan gum and guar gum. Artificial color.”
Clearly, one couldn’t go into the kitchen and mix up a batch of Cool Whip. Technology whips up the Cool Whip and presents us with a time and trouble saver. Instead of whipping the cream, one opens a carton, and the people who begin their cooking careers with Cool Whip may never even attempt to deal with the real thing.
So what? Well, says Mr. Crouch (and Mr. Borgmann), there is an inherent satisfaction in owning a skill and using it. When we give up our skills in favour of convenience, we lose something valuable. On another level, spending our time to do something technology could do for us, and happily taking on that burden is good for the spirit. And a meal home-cooked without convenience foods is, Mr. Crouch acknowledges, a burden of sorts even for the enthusiastic cook. It is a personal sacrifice of time and energy that spreads around a lot of happiness–both to whoever is doing it and to those for whom its done. The article is thought-provoking without being cranky. Neither Mr. Crouch nor Mr. Borgmann are 21st century Luddites who eschew all labor saving devices as a matter of course.
Homemade Egg Noodles is a likely candidate for applying the principle of ‘doing it the hard way’ for the sake of one’s well being and happiness. The recipe is adapted from one by Edna Lewis that appeared in her first cookbook, written in collaboration with her student and friend Evangeline Peterson.
A homemade noodle is hardly recognizable as a relative of a packaged one. They have about as much in common as… real whipped cream and Cool Whip.
Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.
A Timing Note: The noodles may be made, dried for an hour and cooked. Or, they may be made a day ahead and dried overnight. They should be cooked just before serving.
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 and 1/2 cups of White Pastry Flour: Regular unbleached White Flour will be fine, too.
- 1/2 teaspoon of Salt for the dough and 1 Tablespoon of Salt for the pot of boiling water in which the noodles cook
- 1/4 cup of Butter, melted (2 ounces or 4 Tablespoons)
- 1 Tablespoon of fresh Parsley, chopped
- a little Sweet Paprika
- Optional Last Touch: Branches of fresh Parsley, and fresh Red Chilis are optional for garnishing noodles that are served plain at the side of a main dish
- a Food Processor fitted with the Rotary Blade, if you prefer not to include mixing the noodle dough as a part of your homemade effort: The dough for the pictured noodles was mixed in a processor. To mix the dough by hand, you will need a large Mixing Bowl. Both methods are outlined in the recipe below.
- a sheet of Waxed Paper or a Linen Towel to cover the dough while it rests before rolling it out
- a large Pastry Board and a Rolling Pin
- a Pizza Cutter or Knife
- a Ruler or Measuring Tape is useful for gauging the width of the noodles when cutting them
- large rimmed Baking Sheets lined with Parchment Paper for drying the noodles
- Cheesecloth or Linen Towels to cover the noodles while they dry
- a small, heavy Saucepan for melting the butter
- a large Pot
- a large Colander
- a large Bowl or Casserole for mixing the cooked noodles with butter and parsley
1. To make the dough in a food processor. Pour the flour and salt into the bowl of the processor (fitted with the rotary blade). Press the Pulse button to mix them together. Then turn on the processor and holding down the lid of the processor firmly with one hand, pour the beaten eggs into the flour through the tube of the processor. (Holding down the lid will prevent it from jerking–and possibly cracking– when the dough forms a ball.) Gradually the mixture will leave the sides of the bowl of the processor and form a ball.
1. To make the dough by hand. Mix the flour and salt together in the bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the eggs. Mix the eggs and flour together with your hands. Press and squeeze the mixture to combine it and when it is still ‘scrappy’ turn it out on the pastry board to knead. Use your fists on the mixture, pressing down on it and kneading it vigorously. Forming the dough will take time, but eventually the flour and eggs will form a smooth, dry ball.
2. A finished ball of dough is neither crumbly nor sticky:
3. Cut the dough in half and roll out half of it on a lightly floured pastry board. (Have extra flour on hand in case the dough begins to stick–but it is unlikely to do so.) Roll the dough as thinly as possible–(between 1/8 and 1/16-inch thickness is about right)–into a rough rectangle measuring about 9-inches by 10-inches. Roll the dough from the middle, outwards, so that the edges of the rectangle do not become significantly thinner than its center. The dough may have a tendency to shrink back as it is rolled out. Flip it now and then as you form it.
8. Cook the noodles just before serving them. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small, heavy saucepan that will keep it warm as you make the noodles. (If you are also using the oven, you might set the saucepan of melted butter on the back of the stove to keep it warm.)
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 Tablespoon of salt. Add the noodles and boil them for 15 minutes. They will puff a little and will lose all superficial resemblance to Italian pasta. When done they are very slightly chewy.
10. Drain the noodles well in a colander. Transfer them to a bowl or casserole and mix them with the melted butter and the chopped parsley and sprinkle them with a little sweet paprika. Leave them in the bowl for serving or divide them among plates.
A Last Touch: Branches of Parsley and Fresh Red Chilis
A Note: Homemade Egg Noodles are served with the Main Course Maple and Mustard Glazed Roast Loin of Pork with Paprika and Mushroom Sauce in the Dinner Menu: Magyar Accents ~ a Dinner for Four. Homemade Egg Noodles is adapted from a recipe in The Edna Lewis Cookbook by Edna Lewis and Evangeline Peterson (1972).
A Second Note: Mr. Crouch writes on cultural topics from a Christian perspective. “Eating the Supper of the Lamb in a Cool Whip Society” is available to read here on the website Culture Making. The website, however, is not primarily a venue for Mr. Crouch’s articles. He describes the site as a “tumblelog” and says, “While we post original material from time to time, what we mostly do is point our visitors toward surprising, hopeful, and challenging glimpses of culture making in action. We do our best to avoid the sacred–secular dichotomy that has dogged so much Christian thinking about culture. If it’s enlightening and provocative, we’ll post it, whether it’s “Christian” or not.”
And A Suggestion: Homemade Egg Noodles, served with Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce, a bowl of grated fresh Parmesan cheese and a salad makes a nice Light Lunch. A recipe for Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce is here in the previous diplomatickitchen post for Cream of Pecan Soup.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012