Oodles of Noodles Mark Family Talent, Tradition
Posted February 20, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
NAGANO — For over 65 years, people in one family have been serving up the staple of the Japanese diet in the Nagano region. Now the world is getting a taste.
The family knows that now is the perfect opportunity to introduce the world to the Japanese noodle. One third-generation member of the family specialized is soba noodles. They start from scratch with buckwheat flour and years and years of experience.
Special rolling pins are used to spread the dough out on a special board in his "showroom." There, passersby can watch the process of making the soba noodle. The family is now trying to come up with ideas to make the display a true "show."
Once the soba dough is spread to perfect thickness, it is gently folded into layers and the cutting process begins. Each strip is the same width. Each stroke is the same, hour after hour and day after day.
Making the noodles makes one noodle-chef very happy. He says being happy makes the people who eat his noodles happy too. The soba noodles are not prepared in huge batches, then frozen or refrigerated. Each batch is made fresh and served up fresh.
Eating soba is not a quiet adventure. Slurping is encouraged, which is curious since there are no napkins. You take the soba, stir it into a special sauce, then suck it all down. Not to worry. Just roll up your sleeves and make a little noise. It's a family tradition.