by Jep Hostetler
How can it be that the Bible does not speak about noodles, a genuine Mennonite any
kind? In addition, the word "noodle," all by itself, is a very funny word. Therefore,
Mennonites eat funny food. Think about it. Say the word "noodle" out loud several
times, like "noooooooo……dle", or like "noo….dllllllllle" or as my granddaughter was
fond of saying, "nooodooos." If more than one person says "noodle, noodle, noodle"
and several others around him or her say "noodle," someone will of necessity have to

Dad would often suggest that because of my spontaneous nature, I was a bit
impetuous. He would seal his comments with something like, "Jeppy, you are just like a
frog. You jump up in the air, and while you are up in the air you look around for some
place to land. Why don't you use your noodle?" Use my noodle? I think he meant use
my brain. So brain equals noodle, or noodle equals brain. Did you ever think about
eating brains while you are eating noodles? There must be some connection because
my dad told me to use my noodle.

My mind's eye still holds a vivid image of my mother making homemade noodles. She
would faithfully, i.e., about four times a year, make up a big batch of egg noodles. She
rolled dough out on the oilcloth-covered kitchen table, into a very large, thin, circular,
flour-dusted creation that looked like an over-grown thin pizza crust. Deftly her hand
would take a knife and cut long, narrow strips from this massive flat thing, and place
the strings carefully over a rack that was on top of the old Frigidaire. There the
noodles dried, waiting to be placed in a fabulous chicken noodle soup (which
incidentally had more chicken and more noodles than it did soup), or made into our
favorite dish, "buttered noodles."

All this brings me to another encounter with noodles. Shortly after our marriage my
wife Joyce wanted to please me with a special dish of buttered noodles. They were
adequate, but they did not compare with my mother's buttered noodles. Perhaps it
was the store-bought noodles that were the problem. So, with diligence Joyce
searched specialty stores and Amish markets to find the right noodles. This went on
for nearly seven years, until one evening she heard the words, "These are just like
mom's buttered noodles! Wow! What did you do to finally find the secret formula?" All
along she could have called my mother to find out the secret, but no, that would have
been embarrassing. Her answer was simple, sheepish, and clear, "Honey", she said, "I
used real butter"!

Finally, a Mennonite friend of mine, originally from Neighborville, Pa., said with a grin,
"I never could get folks to tell me why the town had the nickname it did, but it was
called by all the locals "noodledoosey."

Maybe we should use our noodles, eat more buttered noodles, and move to