Friday, April 11, 2008

You and I

We understand, you and I, that time is our most precious resource. Not oil. No matter what the news tells me nightly.

I am in a position becoming increasingly more rare these days: I have a little time off from the commonly understood workforce to be with my family. And in order to satisfy myself intellectually, to write for you. I understand not everyone, or practically anyone anymore, can relate. In the interest of fairness, and having sat both sides of that fence, I try to write for everyone who reads, not just for the savvy career people who subscribe, and not just for the career mothers. I have this feeling that no person among us only one or the other in the end and I write from current moments, from experience, and for hope for a league of people, men and women, who are jacks-of-all life's trades. It will continue to be my goal to speak to all of you, though one message may be so much more vital than another according to your current circumstance or concern.

What I mean to say is, occasionally, every career person, every career parent, and all manner of busy person is going to reel back in their chairs, shake their heads, and then start to issue comments to me below asking if I really expect someone to do what I am writing about, asking how on earth they could find the time, asking why they would bother to do it if a box of the stuff could be had for less than $2.

I will warn you right now, no measure of your common sense is going to stop me. I am diabolically entrenched in this food-related commitment. I am, at times, madly driven to a perfection both unnecessary and unattainable. And fortunately, I have you ,as witnesses should Happy Acres ever open a wing for the maniacally culinary, where I will for certain be admitted and be among my own to babble about veal stock dawn to duck.

It happens one of the characteristics of this malady is owning a pasta machine when you are not a chef, the least bit Italian, nor a person who regularly eats pasta (oh, if only). It was a gift, but I would have bought it on my own. I did not trip blindly into this enterprise. I read all the books. I became frustrated with the impossibility of the pasta process long before the machine ever came into my life, and I eventually got it down. Full circle, you see: Naive studier, ignorant idiot, decent pasta maker. A journey through flours wells, bad doughs, and over-dried fresh pasta. But I arrived, flour on forehead and rings caked with dough, to a person who won. And as Bob Geldorf once said about a far more lofty thing than this, "At least for one day in their bloody life, they won." Precisely.

I thought this pasta thing had requirements. Like the stewards at sporting events, a horse show for example: The pasta gods like you to be both pedigreed (have a name like Maria or Mario) and practiced (heave learned it from your elderly family members, Maria and Mario). But actually, the ranks are open to all comers willing to try try again. Because it is not easy. But, as you know, that is what keeps me coming back.

Along side the Savuer article on ragu Bolognese I mentioned two days ago, the magazine also published a recipe for homemade tagliatelle and collateral photos. When you see a recipe involving photographing the steps, you are in one of two camps: Bring it on. Or, turn the page that is too long a process to get to my dinner. I am in the former and I have made the tagiatelle.
Today. In two parts: first I put the dough together in the well method while singing to my daughter in her high chair next to me. Second, I rolled and cut the pasta while she napped. I used a pasta machine for both steps, and I am not sorry. I too have a life to live.

It made the Kilmanjaro of pasta mountains. It claims to serve 4. But, I imagine they use Cana portions: the literally never ending bowl of pasta went without mention but it was right there behind the loaves and fishes. Initially, I was concerned that the ragu looked so small by comparison but it is so think and rich, just a serving-spoonful carried a heap of pasta. Oh, and that Chianti, an '87. I am going to lay down on the couch now. Talk tomorrow?

1 comment:

Sebas said...

it looks tasty :P