FRONTENAC —Walking through the doors of the Frontenac United Methodist Church there is no mistake hat there is cooking going on, with trails of flour dusted on the floor from the front door to the cafeteria.
Flour-covered students from the Frontenac High School Interact Club gathered around tables with noodle dough, gently cranking it through a flattening machine, then going back through on a different setting to create long strips of noodles.
“We usually don’t have all of these helpers, so this is wonderful,” church member Dianne Mitchell said.
“The kids seem to be having a good time with it.”
Mitchell said noodle making is nearly a lost art amongst the younger generations, “most young kids and not very many people make stuff like this from scratch,” she said. “It’s a good thing to keep the tradition going and we’ll have somebody who knows how to do this later on.”  
Interact Club is through Frontenac Rotary, and it focuses on volunteer work. Vice President Hannah Eckstein said the students woke up early just to help make the noodles.
“They came here to make noodles on their own time and it looks like they are having lots of fun,” she said as her classmates were pulling noodles through the machines and then hanging them up to dry.  
Personally, this will be the first time for Hannah to make noodles, although she has chowed down on a plate of the church’s homemade noodles and mashed potatoes many times before.
Now that she’s helped make them, Hannah said has a new perspective. She applauded the older church members for their determination to get so many noodles made in the past.
“I don’t know how they have done it,” she said “It’s honestly hard work and determination by our church members.”
Although hard work, hanging the noodles was “satisfying.”
“It’s the most satisfying job in the world because you just get to hang them and line them up and make them look all pretty,” Hannah said.
Alongside the students were church-goers and community members who taught the students how to carefully place the dough through the opening of the machine and then lightly hold the noodles as the come out from the bottom.
Once the noodles were cut, they were placed over rods side by side to hang and dry.
They said there is no way to count exactly how many noodles there are, however, they do count how many eggs have been used — 37 dozen — 444 eggs.  
Chicken Noodle Dinners go back over a generation and the process has changed quite a bit. When it started in 1948 they didn’t use a noodle cutting machine and according to the church's website, it started in the basement of the church.
That meal, the church served approximately 30 people. Now it has grown to a three-day preparation event serving nearly 250 people.
Noodle hanger and Frontenac Resident Carole Bowman reminisced about her mother making pies for the dinner.
“I just remember my mother making like seven pies,” Bowman said. “I enjoy it and I enjoy coming.”
Retired members Mary Marshall and Lucille Simon made Chicken Noodle Dinners for years.
Simon started making them in the 1960s when she move to Frontenac and joined the church. She said it was a way for her to “contribute” to her church and community.
Marshall said she always looked forward to the chicken dinners, which happen four times a year. Both Marshall and Simon said they had a lot of fun and it was a great opportunity to socialize. They also both said when the noodle press and cutter came along it made noodle making much more enjoyable.
Although retired from noodle making, Marshall and Simon helped clean up after all of the noodles were hung.
United Methodist Church Pastor Annie Ricker said the noodle dinners encompass what the church is about, “a community coming together.” Ricker said she it was “wonderful” to have the FHS students come and in and help.

Want noodles?
The Frontenac United Methodist Church will serve Chicken Noodle Dinners until sold out starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14. People can enter on the south side of the building. Dinner prices are $7 for adults and $4 for children between the ages three and 12-years-old. There is an option for carryout and individual items in quart and pint sizes. Dry noodles are also available. All proceeds go to the church.