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Homemade noodles, freshly cooked chicken, half and half, chicken broth not from a can and other ingredients make up the recipe for the main course at the annual First United Methodist Church Noodle Dinner.
About 2,400 people were served during the meal Tuesday at FUMC. This is a large jump in numbers from the 400 who were served throughout the event’s debut 48 years ago.
That year, not only were chicken and noodles provided, but also beans and cornbread. Betty Davis remembers it well.
“We ran out of the chicken and noodles but still had beans and cornbread left,” said Davis, who has helped with the dinner since the beginning. “So, the next year, we only served the noodles.”
Fourteen at the time, Becky Enos also remembers the first dinner. In fact, the recipe that keeps people coming back in droves each year was her mother’s, Mildred Young.
“If there’s a secret ingredient, we couldn’t tell you,” Enos said as she laughed. “You can’t stir it often.”
About every 30 minutes while the mixture is cooking, it can be stirred. Enos said one year a batch or two was stirred too often and it was just mush.
“I run a tight ship,” said Davis of her kitchen. “Everyone has their own roasters and they don’t touch any of the others.”
To finish off the meal, there is always what looks like yards of homemade dessert choices. Most are made by the United Methodist Women, who sponsor the event. However, there are many men of FUMC who help out as well.
“It takes about 100 volunteers for it to all work,” said Barbara Braught, chair for this year’s dinner. “The first people showed up this morning by at least 6:30.”
From cooking, cleaning pans, clearing tables, replenishing desserts and taking tickets, there are plenty of jobs to be done by the volunteers. The time span for the public to come sit down and eat or take out their meal is about seven and half hours.
Braught said in the first half hour of being open, they had about 200 take out orders and sit down meals could be estimated to about 100.
“It’s going great,” she said. “The attitude of the church members is positive and they all have smiles on their faces.”