All the dreamers in all the world are dizzy in the noodle. –Edie Adams

Ah, National Noodle Day.

I have to tell you, Noodle Day really taxed my ability to come up with something delicious. Well, I did have one idea of my own:  I wanted to make Spatzle and thusly make my Inner German Milk-Maid very very happy. However, my best friend AKA “Schmoopy” took me to task for this choice:

Me/Inner German Milk-Maid: “mmmmm, spatzle…*drool*”

Schmoo: “That’s not a noodle. They are too lumpy and irregular.”

Me: “They are flour and egg dough cooked in water. What else could they be? They are noodles.”

[I pause this to admit that, yes, in fact, we can have long conversations about nothing in particular when we’re at work….Especially when we’re at work!]

Schmoo: “No no no – noodles are long and skinny. Much longer than they are wide.”

Me: “What about egg noodles, they are squat. Are you telling me those aren’t noodles?”

… you can see where this is going. To avoid a tiff, my Schmoo and I had to consult the Source of All Truth… Wikipedia:

Noodle

1.        (usually in plural) A string or strip of pasta, especially as used in Chinese food.
2.       (colloquial) A person with poor judgment; a fool.
3.       (colloquial) The brain.

THAT IS IT!   BRAINS!!

I said to myself “think outside the box D., how do you know that ‘National Noodle Day’ isn’t about BRAINS!!?” And so, I went exploring what happens, gastronomically speaking, when the one is inclined to eat The Noodle. This is what I learned:

  1. They are just as unpopular as you think: There are 100,000 recipes on epicurious.com and NOT ONE deals with cooking brains.
  2. The most common way to prepare brains is by coating them in breadcrumbs and frying them.  Eggs, breadcrumbs and butter – it’s a classic!
  3. Brunch Menu Item Strikeout #1: Brains are eaten as a crepe filling in Poland.
  4. Brains are on the rise in foodie circles – for example, Mario Batali at Babbo in NYC is making this Lamb’s Brains “Francobolli” (al dente pasta “postage stamps” filled with a mix of ricotta cheese and lamb’s brains).

    Lamb Brain and Riccotta Stuffing

    Image by ulterior epicure/Flickr-Creative Commons

  5. Brunch Menu Strikeout #2: In the Southern United States, canned pork brain in gravy can be purchased. For consumption. As food. Seriously. Apparently you crack a can and fry them up with scrambled eggs to produce “Eggs n’ Brains”.
  6. Eating brains is not for the risk adverse: Brain consumption can result in contracting fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (basically the human version of mad cow disease ). Scientist believe that the disease may be transmitted to human beings who eat the brain or spinal cord of infected carcasses of cattle.

Did that leave you hungry? I know I’m starved. Time to wrap up the research, head to the kitchen and tuck into a big bowl of…. *drumroll*….spagettini.  I’m not a noodle – in the foolish sense of the word. I know some nice al dente noodles topped with a sweet and sour ragu based on slow roasted chicken will be a winner. Add pancetta, EVOO, carrots, celery, rosemary, cinnamon, garlic, tomatoes,  red wine, sultana raisin, pine nuts, fresh parsley… oh yes, National Noodle Day *has* been celebrated in my house.

D.

Slow Roasted Chicken Pasta

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