THE AMISH COOK: Gloria’s grandma hangs tough
Our days are filled with their own twists and turns. Grandma (Mommy) has outlived all the guesses made by the doctors and nurses. Hospice is in and out each day since Mommy was brought home from the hospital. Over a week ago they told us that it’ll only be hours, but still, she is hanging on. Late one night after we were all in bed and sound asleep I was summoned to her bedside since it looked like it could be her last moments due to her shallow breathing. When I arrived her children were all gathered around her bed and some grandchildren in the kitchen singing ever so softly. We waited and watched, we all wanted to be there when she draws her last breath. We all have precious memories of being gathered around Grandpa when he went to be with Jesus. Amazingly enough, she kept taking a breath at a time and, finally at midnight, we began to disperse for the night. It’s so hard to see her suffer, but we trust God with His plan in all this.
I go to see her every chance I get, which is usually once or twice a day. I cherish all the moments I have with her, not knowing when the last time will be. Sometimes I take one of the children with me in the bike carrier while Daniel watches the others at home, or at other times we all go. Just yesterday Rayni and I went together. We sang Jesus loves me for Mommy. Even though she can barely respond I knew she can hear us and would like to tell us, “Thank you, thanks for coming,” as she always did before she had a stroke. I keep reminding her that she really is more dear to me than ever before. Mommy used to be the independent type that never wanted to be a bother to anyone and was always making sure that others would be careful and not overdo themselves when they were sick or had an ailment. Now, she simply can’t help herself anymore. The children reassured that it’s okay, she took care of them when they were young now they can take care of her.
Grandma’s five sons and two daughters, who live in four different states, are all here to help take care of her day and night. Of course, this also takes food and constant efforts with everything that goes with accommodating a bunch of people in a small house. People from the community drop by with food every now and then which has helped a lot. On Sunday evening we joined the aunts and uncles and other cousins who were there to spend the evening at Mommy’s. In a way, it just didn’t seem right to be there having a yummy supper of grilled hamburgers with Mommy upstairs in the living room, on her hospital bed, suffering so. Yet life goes on, as do the responsibilities God has given us, including caring for our families. It really hit me that as one generation comes the other goes.
A pang went through me when I came downstairs where my sister-in-law, Regina, was cooking a pot of noodles for supper. It was a recipe Mommy had used probably hundreds of times. My mind flipped back to when Mommy had helped me make a large 16-quart canner of these for church. She had made it look so easy as she dumped this and that together, producing a delicious end result just like hers.
I would like to pass the recipe on to you. It really is as easy as Mommy always made it sound. This recipe is used in many Amish funerals and weddings. Mommy also taught me that a canner full feeds a hundred people.
Our children are always delighted when I make noodles for them. And by the way, they are delicious reheated if you have leftovers. In fact, my dad always thinks they’re best when heated the second time.
GRANDMA’S ONE-POT CHEESY NOODLES
* 1 quart of chicken broth
* 1 quart of water
* 4 teaspoons chicken bouillon
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 pound medium noodles
* 1 (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of chicken soup*
* 1/2 cup melting cheese (such as Velveeta)
* 1/2 cup butter
Bring first four ingredients to a boil in a large kettle. In the meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat, continue to heat until butter is nice and brown then add cheese and chicken soup, keep heating until cheese has melted.
Once the water mixture comes to a boil add noodles and bring to a boil again. Next, add butter mixture and remove from heat. Let set a couple hours and the noodles should be ready to stir and eat.
Gloria is an Amish mom, housewife and writer in rural Illinois. Readers with culinary or cultural questions can write her at PO Box 157, Middletown, OH 45042.