It's been said lots of times (including repeatedly and possibly annoyingly by us) that one of the best ways to learn about a people is through their food. Last week, Logan was doing some movie scouting a couple of hours east of Austin when he stopped for lunch in Giddings, Texas. While eating his sandwich, he noticed a couple of ladies from the Texas Wendish Heritage Society selling dried noodles in little bags. How could he resist?
As soon as I saw these noodles, I fell in love. I mean, the Wendish! Their name sounds impossibly exotic, like a people from a fantasy novel who have the ability to communicate with ponies with rainbow manes. As it turns out, Wendish origin is a tad more prosaic. Wends are Slavic, from Lusatia in eastern Germany, and in a detail that makes me love them all the more they are today known as Sorbs.
In September, the Wends (Sorbs?) of Texas hold a Wendish Festival, where you can enjoy demonstrations of the Wendish arts such as batik egg dying and sausage and sauerkraut making. For the kiddies, there's Kletternpfosten, which turns out to be greased pole climbing, and stick horse racing. I am so there in September 2010.
Until then, I'll just console myself with their tasty noodles, which stand up nicely to a hearty boiling. In fact, we found that they're the perfect chicken noodle soup noodle.
Last week, Logan made a simple and truly delicious dinner for the two of us. He started by warming (and diluting) some of his chicken stock, which he then cooked the Wendish noodles in as instructed by the package. Carrots and shallot went in, too, and were cooked until soft. Then he put in a poached egg, just because a poached egg is the right thing to finish off just about any soup from pho to navy bean. Garnish with dill.
This made a ridiculously good chicken noodle soup, thanks in no small part to the Wendish noodles. They stayed starchy and kept their bite even after the 10 minutes of prescribed vigorous cooking. Yum.
Today is a definite soup day (it's 35 here in Austin again!), so I'm going to go make puppy dog eyes at Logan and request soup for dinner. I start another season of test-grading tomorrow, so a soul-warming soup would not go amiss.
To find out more about the Wendish and their history, check out the Texas Wendish Heritage Society here.