"Red Noodle Soup," she said without an ounce of hesitation in her voice.
"Are you sure?" I asked. This would be pasta night #2 if we went with Red Noodle Soup.
"Yes," she replied. "Definitely."
When most people hear what the ingredients are for my family's own Red Noodle Soup recipe, they make faces. Sometimes they even vocalize their distaste with a "yuck." But for my daughter, Red Noodle Soup is comfort food. It's what we eat when her dad's away. It's a Saturday lunch. It's comfort.
It's what I ate as a kid -- probably because my mother had worked hard all day and didn't have the energy or the time to put a meal on the table. Perhaps it was all my sisters and I knew how to cook. At least it has seemed that way as I've gotten older and acknowledged, regretfully, my shortcomings in the kitchen.
And fortunately for my daughter, its three ingredients place it directly where it needs to be on the food pyramid. It's healthy. Really. It counts as a grain, it doubles as a powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant and fruit, and it's a dairy product.
- 3/4 of a box of sea shell noodles (too many and it doesn't leave enough sauce) Why sea shells? They hold the sauce in them like tiny cups. When you bite into a sea shell, you get to savor the flavor of the sauce as it seeps out. Preferred brand: Mueller's. (Yes, there's a difference).
- 1 16-ounce can of tomato sauce (it can't have oregano or basil or any other added ingredients... it can't be stewed tomatoes or anything resembling a jar of spaghetti sauce. Only tomato sauce. Plain.red.tomato.sauce. Preferred brand: Hunt's.
- A dollop (rather big) of butter or a butter-wanna-be.
I saw that! You scrunched up your nose and nearly said, "yuck." But I urge you to not turn your back on my daughter's comfort food unless you try it first.
Now, I certainly claim Red Noodle Soup as a comfort food, but for me, creamed potatoes rank at the top of my list. ... a side dish my mother always cooked for me when she knew I was going to be driving up for a visit. ... Not too creamy, though. Probably "mashed" is more like it. Just chunky enough to let me know that real potatoes were washed and peeled and cut and boiled and mashed... not some fake flakes packaged in a box.