Last Sunday we had our Struewing Family Reunion.
This was the reunion that we established in 1960, when I was just a girl, for the Louis and Anna Struewing family.
My grandparents raised nine children and they decided to have a formal reunion — to get everyone together — at least one time a year. That first year, it was at my parents’ house, and I remember how much fun it was to see all my cousins, which I think totaled 29. After that first year, we usually had it at John Bryan Park. We had it in the day lodge on the upper level, and we placed all the food that was carried in on the beautiful long table with the beautiful inlaid wood leaf design in the center of the room. Everyone brought lots of dishes of wonderful food, and my grandmother Anna always made a huge pot of her homemade chicken and noodles. After lunch the kids would go outside and play, and the adults would have a family meeting. It started with a prayer. All new births were announced. Weddings were announced and deaths were announced. After any other family business, the next family in line was nominated to plan the reunion for the next year.
So this year it was my parents’ — the William Struewing family’s — turn to plan the reunion, and my siblings decided the Governor’s Residence would be a great place for us all to get together.
It was such a fun day. In spite of possible rain warnings, nearly 200 people, young and old, showed up to be together. When relatives arrived, they walked through the gardens and seemed happy to just be together again. I cleared a lot of furniture out of the sun room so we could put in long tables to put the food on. I made two large pots of chicken and noodles and I counted more than 70 other dishes of beautiful family food and desserts. What a feast it was! Our families ate in the large great room as well as outside. Just as soon as everyone had eaten, large black clouds started rolling in so we gathered in the great room for the family meeting. We were very blessed to have my father’s younger brother Paul and his younger sister Joan with us! We heard some great family stories.
When the meeting was over, the storm had ended, too, so we went back outside to enjoy fun and games, and old family stories and each other’s company for the rest of the day.
It’s not the reunion without Grandma’s chicken and noodles. Grandma taught me how to make them years ago. This year I made a total of seven batches so everyone could have some.
Grandma’s Chicken and Noodles
1 4-5 pound chicken. Cover with water. Add a piece of onion and celery, salt and pepper. Simmer about two hours until tender. Cool and de-bone and set aside.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
Mix together in a bowl. (You can add a little extra flour or water if needed.) Divide into two balls, and let balls rest for about half an hour. Roll each one out on heavily floured surface. Dust each circle with flour, cut into quarters, and stack on top of each other. Roll up loosely and slice into noodles about 1/4 inch wide. Loosely spread out noodles on floured counter and let dry for about half an hour or more.
Bring to boil about 2 quarts of the chicken broth. Drop in a few noodles at a time, letting broth come back to boil. Add about 2-3 cups of the chopped chicken. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning. Add more broth if necessary. Serve.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.