In honor of Mother’s Day I’ve asked a few of my favorite people if they would tell us about their memories of cooking with their moms. Today’s Cooking with Mom post and recipe for sweet noodle kugel is from the fabulous Kim Tracy Prince, who blogs at both House of Prince and Agoura Hills Mom:
When I was growing up holidays meant gathering the extended family together at my grandparents’ house for a big meal that had been painstakingly prepared for days and days. Months even. My grandmother, my Nana, would bake cookies well in advance and freeze them. In fact, she froze a lot of dishes in advance, and though my parents and my aunts and uncles would joke about this, I didn’t know anything different, so I just thought the food was supposed to taste that way.
Our family is Irish. Almost 100 percent on both sides. In fact, three of my grandparents’ ancestors are from the same county in Ireland. (There’s a bit of Italian thrown in there, too.) So it’s funny to me, as I look back, that one of the staple dishes of holiday dinners at my grandparents’ house, and now at every other extended relative’s house, is noodle kugel.
“Kugel is a Jewish dish similar to a casserole or pudding. The dish originated over 800 years ago in southern Germany and became a staple with Jewish families throughout Eastern Europe. Jewish immigrants brought the kugel with them to the United States, where it continues to be a popular holiday dish today.”
Well, no wonder. Most of the families on the street in the otherwise Irish and Italian town where my grandparents lived were Jewish, and so her best friends for many years were Jewish. There is a woman whose last name is Cohen whom I grew up calling “Aunt Shirley,” only wondering, once I was an adult, how she was my Aunt if she was Jewish.
Thanks to Aunt Shirley and the other Jewish friends in the neighborhood, Nana started making kugel as a side dish for holiday dinners, and everyone loved it. She is in her 90’s now, and prefers to be served her holiday dinner which is now prepared by her children and grandchildren, but her kugel recipe is always on the menu.
She wrote out the recipe for my bridal shower in 2002. Yeah, I still keep that file box around, and sometimes I actually use it! Noteworthy: that she wrote “oleo” and I don’t even know what that is, and that she used “Pam” as a verb.
Nana’s Sweet Noodle Kugel
1/2 pound noodles
1/4 pound butter (oleo)
4 eggs separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 pint sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
Topping: 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar
Boil noodles and drain. Add oleo, sugar, cottage cheese, sour cream, and salt. Beat eggs with milk and add. Beat egg whites stiff and fold in.
Pam 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with cinnamon & sugar. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.