Tired but happy: first Preserving Traditions event

make pastaWow. Just…wow. How to sum up the Preserving Traditions noodlemaking event?

Well, first of all, my arms are so freakin’ tired! Making noodles with a rolling pin is hard work! I’m so glad so many folks brought pasta machines to share. And also, I think I’m finally “letting down” after about two solid weeks of being completely abuzz about this event. It was almost like a 2-week caffeine high – for someone who doesn’t drink coffee.

So – the event. There were 19 attendees, plus me and our most able presenter, Julie Ritter. Julie led us through the basics: 2 cups of flour and 2 eggs; smoosh together, then knead. And knead. And knead. We explored dough elasticity and resiliency, and when she discovered someone with a nice lump of dough, we all ran over to that table to poke and prod it.

Then we started rolling and cutting the dough – some with rolling pins and knives, some with machines. We also had a couple kinds of flour. The all-purpose flour looked much more like whole wheat dough than I’d expected, and we also had spelt and semolina flours. The semolina was almost magical. It started off looking like cornmeal, and somehow came together into an amazingly smooth, elastic ball. It didn’t tear when rolled.

We also learned the importance of flouring the noodles before putting them into a bowl or a bag! I ruined half my finished noodles by not flouring them enough. I don’t know how they make those pasta “nests,” but you can’t just coil up the pasta and have it work out. Maybe if it dried completely?

We cooked 2 batches of noodles: one all-purpose flour, hand-rolled and cut (and very thick!) and one semolina and done with the machine. They were both good, but very different. The hand-cut noodles would be great in a heavy winter soup, like chicken and dumplings. The semolina made pasta more like what you’d buy and serve with an Italian sauce.

And now I’m pretty whipped. I’m ready to let a day or two – or heck, even a couple of waking hours – go by without plotting, planning, or arranging something for Preserving Traditions. And then I’ll be ready to get the next events around, because holy cow…this was a blast and I can’t wait to do it again!



  1. Buttercup said,

    February 8, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Any thought of a repeat? I know you had a big backup list.

    Also, any news on buckwheat noodles? I bought a pound of buckwheat after reading about them on someone’s blog.

  2. Suzie said,

    February 8, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Awesome! I’m so glad it was as fun as expected. We had tried the semolina flour and I totally agree with you on the magical-ness. It’s like sugar-sand, and then weird doughy stuff, and then all of a sudden it’s pasta-dough.

  3. Matriarchy said,

    February 8, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I’m far away, but I love watching you start this. I’m so happy for you that the first event was so successful. Keep going! I got a pasta machine and a bag of semolina this fall, but I haven’t tried anything yet – time to get busy!

  4. Ken said,

    February 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Congratulations, Emily! This sounds like a great start =)

  5. Lisa Bashert said,

    February 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    My first comment! I am a friend of TeacherPatti and so excited about your efforts with Preserving Traditions. I’m wondering if we can talk about some joint Ypsi / Ann Arbor Preserving Traditions events? I’m thinking of a variety of ideas == a “two campus” approach, where classes are repeated in Ypsilanti — or perhaps we could switch off? Or we could contribute to your curriculum and you to ours? Charcuterie? Preserving? Salves and medicinal teas? Basic foraging? Sock darning? We have so many ideas over here but would like to complement your plans rather than compete. Would LOVE to chat, Emily…

  6. Emily said,

    February 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Oh, Lisa…you are SO on! Let’s move this chat to a better forum… 🙂

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