Pasta, I Love You
Is it just me, or does it seem like more and more people are deciding to give up more and more things?
You’ve got the vegetarians who have given up meat.
The vegans who have given up all animal products.
You’ve got the paleo crowd, which I’ve never understood.
You have the carb avoiders.
Surely there are still people who are pursuing low fat diets.
And I’m just as sure that there are still calorie counters.
We can’t forget the teetotalers, they’ve been around for ages.
Going sugar free is having a moment.
And recently I heard some people talking about giving up caffeine.
That’s hardly an exhaustive list. And ultimately, you have to do you. But life is hard, ruthless, and short. I advocate for taking pleasure where you can find it. And one thing that is quite clear coming out of the Passover holiday is that noodles are one of the loves of my life.
Some may say that’s just the sugar talking.
Pasta isn’t the healthiest of foods. Much of it is made with refined grains, and that’s a nutritional minefield. But I’m not eating pasta for its vitamins and minerals. I’m eating it for the slippery sensation it brings to my lips. I’m eating it because it’s a brilliant vehicle for transporting rich and clingy sauces from the plate into my mouth. I’m eating pasta because pasta is just one of life’s great joys.
One of the last things I ate before Passover were the soup dumplings at Ala Shanghai. And I’m calling dumpling wrappers pasta too. This week I even got to see an old video of Little Miss Fussy eating her first soup dumpling as a toddler, thanks to the miracle of Facebook. Our love of pasta must be genetic.
Then last night, to break the fast of Passover, we at bolognese with rotini. I know that it’s traditionally served with spaghetti or a flat pasta, but I love how all those ridges trap the meaty sauce. Maybe it’s overly decadent to have each bite contain so much rich, tender goodness. But if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.
It’s very possible that reform rabbis would be okay with the sweet potato starch noodles that are used in chap chae during the holiday. But I’m not quite comfortable with it. As loose as we are with the kosher for Passover restrictions, we still don’t eat foods that are pretending to be other foods. That feels wrong. So if granola is out. Kosher for Passover “granola” gets the side-eye.
But I don’t have to think about this any more. And you won’t have to hear about the parsing of archaic dietary laws again until next year. Huzzah! Tomorrow, I’m off for pizza, wings, and beer with the Yelp crew. We’re hitting another tavern in deep Troy.
No matter how good it actually is, that first slice of pizza is going to taste great. And Friday, when we get to eat challah, I”m going to fall in love with bread all over again.
There’s that thing about absence and the heart. And it’s totally true. Because even if you love something, taking a break can help you appreciate it anew.