The biggest thing about cooking a great meal is the story behind it. The story somehow makes the food “taste better,” and mine starts with that one dish grandma made that the whole family just raved about: Grandma’s noodles. My great grandmother grew up on a farm and cooked all the time. We would watch her in the kitchen and she would always let us help. Our favorite cooking time with grandma was making the noodles, rolling the dough, playing in the flour and squishing the dough between our fingers. I think that’s why she made them so much because she knew how much we loved them!
Now that I’m all grown up, I still love making the noodles! As a homemaker and stay-at-home mom to two children, I love to cook and the most requested dish out of my kitchen has long been my chicken and homemade noodles. When someone suggested to me that it was so good I should be selling it in the grocery stores, I started to think maybe I had something…. So when I had an opportunity to setup a booth at a local festival in Springboro, Ohio, I thought, why not? It will be extra Christmas money!
My first festival was in 2001 and at that time we called ourselves Granny Franer’s. Over the years the demand for our noodles grew tremendously, so much so that people who came to Springboro would literally call it the Noodle festival and would come there every year just to buy our noodles. It was fun and something we looked forward to all year, but I didn’t think of it as a business. Then, in 2008, my husband Matt lost his job and times were tough. I took a job in the mortgage industry to supplement the loss of income, but of course that began to fail and I lost my job too. Suddenly, noodles seemed to be the saving grace, and we began venturing out to more and more festivals.
While in Brazil, Indiana, at a small festival known as the Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Festival, Sunny Anderson, Food Network chef and icon, came to interview us and camera men began to flock around us. This was the true eye opener for me that my grandma’s noodles were not only the best noodles in the world, but also a little “pot of gold.” I wanted to take this opportunity to a higher level. As customers time and time again asked, “Where can I get this other than this festival?” Matt and I knew we had a product that would sell, but we didn’t want to open a restaurant. Matt, having been in the wholesale industry, said: “Let’s package it.”
So here we are in 2011, Matt and Monica finally turning the corner of noodle success, just as we envisioned in 2008. We hired a marketing team to help us implement our vision, and the one thing that always bothered us was that no one would ever pronounce our name correctly…. We would hear Granny Fannie’s, Granny Francis, Farmer Fran’s and the noodle place; not even Sunny Anderson’s team had it right when our segment was aired on “Summer Eats and Treats”! My great-grandmother’s first name was Elizabeth, and many called her Bessie, so on January 19, 2011, Bessie’s LLC was formed, and yes, everyone pronounces her name correctly.