Homemade pasta recipes look deceptively simple — effortless chic at its very best — on food blogs and recipe sites, but it seems that they actually contain quite a bit of room for error.
What type of flour? Oil and water or eggs for your source of moisture? How thin? What kind of knife cuts? How long to boil?
This was the goal for my May dinner for Mark, and I decided to be extra fancy by making our own pasta noodles.
All was well, pots and pans going, pasta nicely rolled and cut… Until I dropped the noodles into the water and noticed that each strand was DOUBLE its original girth — we never did determine whether they had somehow gotten stuck together or had just bloated like crazy from their hot-water bath. But either way, I was devastated.
And “devastated” isn’t even an exaggeration. I don’t even remember the last time I was so upset about something; Mark definitely has slight pasta PTSD now. Stormy, distraught, unsure where to put the blame — was it Mark’s rolling? did they get stuck together on the plate? was it our recipe? was the water not hot enough? — I was angry with the burning flames of a thousand suns.
Just a few minutes later, though, I could see how unreasonable my reaction had been. It was just pasta! For me and Mark! Lowest stakes ever! And Mark had been so gracious and calm and understanding about it all.
But I was still so upset, as we sat and ate our fat noodles — picking up one by one by hand, really, cause slurping multiple strands at a time was not advisable. It would be satisfying to be able to point to one specific (preferably complex) reason for my uncharacteristically extreme upset-ness about a kitchen blunder (which happen all the time!), but I can’t. All I can think of is that I had been so excited (and proud, too,) and the letdown had been just as great. Action, reaction.
The feeling still lingers in a way that a smell pervades a room — I want to clean it out with a good airing, and try making pasta again. A sort of determination I’ve never felt about cooking before. It’s like the failure sparked a defiant little cook’s voice in me, and she says “I WILL SUCCEED, PASTA.”
Or I just really wanna eat fresh, homemade pasta and get to slurp it down, whole forkfuls at a time. What luxuries we live with every day, without even realizing.