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Iowa Time Machine: Iowa's Noodle Lady - May 30, 2013

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On May 30, 2013, Ethel Reames, the woman behind Mrs. Reames frozen noodles, passed away. The founder of an iconic Iowa brand, the story of the “Noodle Lady” stands as one of Iowa’s most interesting culinary careers.

Born in Maxwell, Iowa, Ethel graduated from Madrid High School before attending Capital City Commercial College (later AIB). In 1947, shortly after marrying William Reames, Ethel moved to Clive. The couple started the Open Bible Church and the Clive Library Association during their early years in Polk County.

The noodle business didn’t represent the first foray into the food business for the Des Moines native. Starting a small business selling peanut brittle, divinity, fudge, and angel food cakes, Reames faced a dilemma: what to do with the leftover egg yolks. When her husband suggested she make egg noddles, and iconic Iowa brand was born.

Starting in the late 1940s, Reames began making and selling refrigerated noodles through the Des Moines metro as Reames Foods Inc. in 1952. Popular demand dictated expansion, and in 1955 the Reames family built an addition to their home to allow for expansion. By the end of the decade the noodles found distribution to markets in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Omaha. Officially incorporated in 1963, Ethel continued working for the business until 1972. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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