As a young girl I remember my mother telling my sisters and me stories about Wendish noodles made by her great-grandmother. As my sisters and I grew up, we had Wendish noodles occasionally for dinner and at every family gathering. Here is our story of family traditions and heritage from the memories of my mother Carol (Welch) Krueger.
Visiting my great-grandparent’s farm brings back fond childhood memories. “Komm essen!”, my great-grandmother would call out to the grandchildren as we chased pigs around a pen or climbed on the peanut wagons. “Time to eat!” During family visits, my grandmother served a traditional Wendish meal. The anticipation of the Wendish noodles seemed almost unbearable. During holiday visits, Christmas songs, sung in the Wendish language by my great-grandfather, filled the air. These thoughts and many more make up treasured memories of a culture and people not well known outside of Lee County in central Texas.
My mother’s paternal family members came to Texas in the mid- to late-1800s as part of a group of families emigrating from Germany. Often referred to as Germans, they belonged to a group of people called the Wends. During my childhood, historical information was passed down through traditions and the telling of family stories.
My great-grandparents held close to their Christian faith and shared their faith with the family through prayers and hymns at each visit. My great-grandmother sat in her kitchen and read her Bible (a German translation of the Martin Luther Bible) as all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered around. The fact that she only spoke the Wendish language did not stop us from hanging onto every word spoken.
At Christmas, the first thing we did upon arriving at the house was to check to see if the noodles were on the stove. Then we would go with our great-grandfather to the wooded area next to the property and cut down a Christmas tree. Once the tree was decorated and the entire family arrived, we would have dinner. The highlight was my great-grandmother’s noodles.
When I was older and traveling to and from college – from Houston to Abilene – I would stop in Giddings, Texas, to see my aunt who made and sold noodles. I would watch as she made the noodles, trying to learn the art of noodle making and hoping to eventually pass down this family tradition to my children.
Today my family continues to enjoy Wendish noodles at all of our family gatherings. It is my hope that this tradition will carry on to the next generation.
● 1 egg
● 1/2 eggshell of water (about 3 Tbsp)
● 1 1/2 -2 cups of flour
● 6 Cups Chicken Broth
● Beat together egg and water
● Sprinkle a pinch of salt and add the flour until it forms a stiff dough.
● Roll out thin on a pastry cloth.
● Let stand to dry, turning over occasionally.
● Cut into thin strips when dry but still pliable.
● Cook in rich chicken broth until tender.
● Chopped parsley, chopped green onion, and a dash of nutmeg can be added for flavor, if desired.