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Slavic Traditions: The East Bernard Czech-Catholic Daughters Homemade Noodle Soup Supper and Wendish-Lutheran Noodles

Monday 05 February 2018 at 5:34 pm.

This article by Ray Spitzenberger first appeared in IMAGES for February 1, 2018, East Bernard Express, East Bernard, Texas.

            When you write for a weekly newspaper, it’s not possible to write your column on the day the paper comes out, -- the editor has to have it before the paper goes to press. This occupational reality causes a slight dilemma.

            An important event that means a lot to you is happening on Wednesday, starting at 5 p.m., and the paper is printed on Wednesday night and comes out on Thursday. Anything you write has to be in the editor’s hands no later than Wednesday morning, but preferably a lot, lot sooner than that.

            So, if the event really means a lot to you, and you must write about it, do you “fake” it, and write about it before it happens as though it has happened? I actually did that once in my life when I was writing for the old East Bernard Tribune. But never since. Even if the event is predictable, and you write what you know is going to happen, this can backfire. The event gets cancelled, for example, and you publish an account of something that never happened. The most famous example occurred in 1948, when the headlines of the Chicago Daily News read “Dewey Defeats Truman,” when Truman actually won – it was an upset victory, and no journalist at the time believed Truman could win.

            Well, I want to write about the East Bernard Czech-Catholic Daughters Noodle Soup-Sandwich Supper on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, but I will email this column to my editor before the event will actually have taken place. Don’t worry. I’m not going to make up anything and write it as though it has happened, even though, based on my observance over the years of past Catholic Daughters Noodle Soup Suppers, I could probably wing it and predict pretty close to what will happen.

            No, there’s always the outside chance of the Daughters’ cancelling their Supper at the last minute. I’m just going to write about noodles and noodle soup suppers in general, and why we all love and look forward to the annual Czech-Catholic daughters noodle soup supper.

            In doing this, I get a chance to plug my book, which is coming out soon (I hope), IT MUST BE THE NOODLES: GROWING UP WENDISH IN RURAL TEXAS.

            Lutheran Wends are Slavs. Czech-Catholics are Slavs. So are Russians, Poles, Moravians, Slovenians, Slovakians, Bohemians, Croats, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Bosnians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Bulgarians, and Koshubs. And they all MAKE NOODLES. Wonderful, delicious, superb homemade noodles! Some Slavic groups make more noodles than other Slavic groups.

            My Wendish friends and relatives in Lee County, Texas, make approximately 3½ tons of homemade noodles a year, which are sold at the Wendish Fest in 1-pound bags and in noodle soup at food booths.

            In fact, the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter regularly gives updates during the year as to how many pounds of noodles have been made by member so far. One year, the total was 7,000 pounds, and that translates into the 3 ½ tons I mentioned. Based on what Wendish-Lutherans do, I have to assume that our Czech-Catholic daughters of East Bernard have been making many pounds of noodles during the month of January. How many tons in all, I wonder.

            I don’t know if our Czech-Catholic Daughters have divulged their secrets for superb noodle-making by giving out recipes or not, so let me close by sharing the official Wendish homemade noodles recipe:

            “One egg, one half egg shell of water (about 3 tablespoons), one and one-half to two cups of flour. Beat egg and water together. Add a sprinkle of salt and enough flour to form 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.” Now that we’ve made the noodles, we’ll have to get the soup recipe from the Daughters.

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Ray Spitzenberger is a free-lance writer and artist who lives in East Bernard with his beautiful wife Peggy and spoiled cat Gatsby.

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