I had a rather eclectic upbringing. My mother believed in the importance of making sure I knew how to make some of the basics in Jewish cuisine. At the time, she was trying to teach me these recipes, I am not sure that I fully appreciated that what she was teaching me with these recipes was a story, not just about the food, but about Jewish culture, how the dishes came into being, and how the legacy of preparing food made with love was part of the legacy she had gotten from her mother and was passing on to me.
Yesterday, I gathered with a few friends and decided to make my mother’s noodle kugel. I had not made this dish since my mom passed away. It was one of the last things she remembered how to make before the dementia began to take away her memory. As I was preparing the kugel, I could feel my mother’s presence with me. I could here her telling me get the dairy product together while the egg noodles are cooking Sarah Bella. That is the name my grandparents gave me when they brought me from the foster home to live with them. As I was stirring in the raisins, I could hear my mother say “you got brown raisins instead of golden ones this time. it won’t look as pretty, but it will still be good.” Yes, mom. I hear you. Ok, boobala – sprinkle the toppings on. Don’t pour. Yes mom. And when I finally took it out of the oven and let it cool. I sat and took my first bite of this dish I had not eaten since my mother passed and heard her say. “You did good Sarah Bella. You did good. Next time, we will make my Ricotta Bobka Cake and my Rugelach. You remember I made those for your Bat Mitzvah.” Yes mom. Something tells me she will be reteaching me these recipes this year and retelling me the stories.
1 pound thin egg noodles
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil water and cook noodles until tender.
While the noodles are cooking, beat the eggs and then add milk, cheese, sour cream, sugar, and raisins.
Then drain and add the noodles.
Pour into buttered 10 x 14 pan.
Mix the brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon together and then sprinkle on top.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool and serve.