The coronavirus pandemic has touched nearly everyone in the entire world. Though we're inching toward reopening the nation, the daily reports of new cases and deaths are grim. Still, my husband and I feel compelled to listen to the news each night at dinnertime.
This ritual reminds me of my youth when my family and I sat at the dinner table and watched journalists report from the jungles of Vietnam. I was sixteen-years old. Every evening we listened to the number of body counts and saw the horrors of the war. In many ways, the harsh reality of COVID-19 seems no different. And yet, this pandemic is so incredibly different because we are fighting a war in our own country and it affects each and every one of us so personally.
During these hard times, it can be challenging to keep spirits lifted. It can be tough because the news of the illness is ever-present on television and in the newspaper. It totally sucks. So we must find ways to deal this unprecedented situation.
We all have different ways to cope. I've found that watching funny movies, talking walks, engaging in Zoom classes and doing Face Time with family make me feel better. And I should mention there's one other thing: good ol' comfort foods. You know the foods that provide consolation or a feeling of contentment. The foods that are sugary or full of carbohydrates. The foods we may associate with home cooking.
One recipe that comes to mind is my mother-in-law's famous noodle kugel.
Millie loved to cook and bake for her friends and family. I honestly couldn't tell you what I liked the best from her vast repertoire: banana split cake, chocolate Texas sheet cake, cream puffs, and the list goes on. Then there's her fried chicken—move over Claudia Sanders.* You've got nothing on Millie's crispy, moist, tender, tasty chicken.
But for comfort food, I think of her noodle kugel.
This recipe is so damn easy to make. My husband and I can't get enough of it. I promise, you will LOVE it.
So, here you go:
2/3 package of wide or extra wide noodles
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 Cup (heaping) sugar
dash of nutmeg
Cook noodles about 7 minutes to al dente. Drain noodles when done. Coat the baking dish with a cooking spray to prevent sticking. Place cooked noodles in baking dish. Stir in butter. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs well and then mix in sugar. Pour over noodles. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350° until the top gets brown, about 45 minutes. And enjoy.
It may be months before the gloominess of the pandemic goes away. But we can put down the newspaper and can turn off the television for awhile. We can engage in activities that bring smiles to our faces. And we can savor our favorite foods. Because now more than ever, we all need a little more comfort.
*Colonial Sander's wife's restaurant is in Shelbyville, Kentucky.