Even the most geometrically challenged will enjoy today’s food holiday, so long as they like pasta. December 11 is National Noodle Ring Day!
I was thinking noodle rings referred to those cans of miniature ring-shaped pasta otherwise known as Spaghetti-Os. But actually, they refer to a literal ring, or circle, of noodles. This dish, popular in the middle of the 20th century, was made by mixing noodles with ingredients such as eggs, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and cheese, and putting the ingredients into a ring mold to bake. When it’s finished the dish is inverted, and the center can be filled with vegetables or main dishes. Creamed chicken was particularly popular. There were lots of variations, with some pretty outlandish ingredients. Who buys pimentos anymore? This recipe has pretty much disappeared from modern cookbooks, probably because serving a dinner shaped like a tire isn’t as appealing as it once was.
As much as I love all things retro, there is a reason certain vintage recipes have fallen out of favor, and that most likely has to do with the fact that they are what we might refer to as “disgusting” by modern culinary standards. Take this recipe, for instance. I have no idea what “dry” American cheese is, but do I really want to find out? No.
So, we improvised. We still made a noodle ring, but used Tara’s tuna noodle casserole recipe. And you know what? This turned out delicious!
It was probably the crumbled Lay’s potato chips she sprinkles on top.
Generations both pasta and present have had a hankering for today’s celebrated food. October 6 is National Noodle Day!
Noodles are an ancient food dating back thousands of years: archaeologists recently unearthed a bowl along the Yellow River in China that contained 4000 year old preserved noodles. It was determined they were made from millet and formed by repeatedly stretching and pulling the dough by hand. The word is derived from the German nudel which, unfortunately, we have as yet been unable to translate. Noodles can be made from almost any type of dough, including wheat, rice, potato, maize, nut, and buckwheat. Once the dough is rolled flat, it is cut into a variety of shapes such as long, thin strips; bows; tubes; and pentagrams. They must be boiled in order to bring their texture back to life. Noodles are popular in many cultures around the world, particularly in Asian and Italian cuisine. Instant noodles were invented in 1958 and have revolutionized the ramen industry, bringing joy to starving college students everywhere.
With so many different varieties of noodles available, we had trouble narrowing down how best to celebrate today’s food holiday. We finally decided to go simple and pick up some fresh pasta from Pastaworks, a great Italian deli/grocery store (or as they call themselves, “European market”) on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland. We opted for freshly made rotini, since it was more of a “noodle” than, say, ravioli would have been. Paired with their marinara sauce and a baguette, we ended up with a quick and delicious meal!