January 26, 2012 § 21 Comments
i was thinking about it, and i really think it’s the carrot.
the carrot is just the sexiest vegetable there is. you bung it in anything and it’s fantastic. (at this stage, let’s assume you’ve made your obscene allusion and i’ve commended your wit. moving on.)
my mother makes me pasta whenever i go home. i don’t give her recipes of things i like because she does not ever follow recipes. we usually let her come up with what she wants to come up with, and then we eat it. if we like it, we tie her arms and legs to bedposts and threaten her at knife-point until she promises to write the recipe down and leave it alone.
so – it’s an insane pasta and i freely admit to being the only person in the universe who likes it. what it is, is, it is any old pasta in a white sauce, with carrots. but the difference between your white pasta and my white pasta is that mine is rita hayworth and yours is paula deen.
in my pasta, there isn’t that puddle of ugly cheesy gloop that passes for a white sauce in restaurants; there’s just a suspicion – a rumour, if i may – of milky smoothness about the penne, just enough for you to know it’s there. you see it in a creamy mist in the distance, teasing you, so you run after it. you keep thinking, god i wish there was more sauce, but you don’t actually want any more, because it is the restraint that is sexy. little coquette!
and my god, the carrots. every little round carrot piece has a golden caramelised halo from being cooked very briefly in olive oil, and that muted, softened sweetness that you anticipate when you bite into it.
anyway, i told my mother that this recipe was an Unfuckable and must be reproduced faithfully when next requested. so of course, the next time she made it, she replaced the carrots with beetroot. let me just come out and say there are way too many things i don’t quite get about that woman. (do you know when she needed a username online, she picked the title of a rock hudson movie from 1961? who are these people we live with????)
the incredible thing is, i loved the beetroot pasta even more than the carrot pasta. i was alone in my joy. my sister point blank refused to eat it and made many cutting statements about the relative merits of various root vegetables. my dad looked at the pinkness of it and ate something else. there wasn’t any damage done, because over a period of one and a half days, i ate just over an entire kilo of the pasta on my own. *burp*
messing with recipes reminds me – maggi. some people like their maggi fucked with and some people do not like their maggi fucked with. i do not like my maggi fucked with. in fact i SO like my maggi un-fucked with, that i want it to be made in a beautiful meadow far from corrupting civilisation, by a nordic cook armed with only ONE packet of maggi and ONE packet of tastemaker.
(i don’t have to mention water because of course there’s a spring of crystal freshwater in the meadow. of course, you lumpen lack of imagination. did you not read the right storybooks growing up?)
i like there to be a goodish deal of what i call ‘juice’ that i can eat with a spoon after the maggi is gone. i do not like your juice-free maggis. i do not like your butter or cheese or masala or onions or whatever it is your mummy put in that made your maggi nice. your maggi is not nice. when you eventually find your bodhi tree, you will make maggi like i do and then we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
but (if you look closely you’ll begin to see a pattern) i do like carrots in my maggi. i assure you i have no idea why. like i said, bung em in anything and you’re looking at a better dish.
children’s storybooks remind me, you know how everyone says enid blyton was their favourite author growing up? without prejudice to the quality of that opinion, i just have one question –
where are the mentions of russian storybooks?
as i the only one growing up in a sea of mishas and valyas and the young pioneers and byelorussian blockading and azerbaijani horse races? not even folk tales, my friends? not even a handful of stars or the adventures of dennis or raggitty and the cloud, likely my three favourite children’s books of all time?
the thing with russian children’s stories is that they never talk down to you. please read the adventures of dennis here online [i apologise for the painfully terrible formatting]. not every story has a plot or a readily discernible purpose. some stories are bittersweet for no reason, just like some days are. blithely recorded are several stupid decisions, broken promises and vast quantities of regret, but there isn’t a moral in sight.
and dennis, dennis is only seven years old. in comparison, darrell rivers seems to have had the emotional range of a pimple.
i think there is a small but important difference between nostalgia and love. nostalgia is the missing of the days you were in love, but love is ageless.
i fell in love with my russian books for what i believe are excellent reasons (not that you need any). i truly believe that their like has not been seen since they quietly disappeared from public imagination.
i miss them and i wish they were still around.