At Home

I Dreamed a Pasta

I rarely nap, but I got home from work the other night and found myself all alone and exhausted.  And not the sort of exhausted where you feel like putting up your feet and watching a little TV.  This was “I need to lie down immediately or I will fall asleep standing up.”  I haven’t felt that tired in years: the last time I napped as intensely as I was about to, I was on a train bound for Munich.  I was traveling on my own and I was sharing one of those lovely cubicle sort of things with one other person–a man who sat on the opposite banquette.  I remember falling asleep but I knew that I was sleeping with my mouth wide open and that my head was bobbing all over the place.  And I remember thinking, wake up damnit!  This man is gonna think you’re a nut job with your crazy head and your drool!  So I started making noises, like really weird noises, to try and wake myself up.  I want to describe them to you but I don’t know how. Just try this right now while you’re reading:  Open up your mouth, and hum really loud, in a nasal sort of way, and do it really loud, like an animal dying. That’s what I was doing. And it didn’t work!  I just kept sleeping!  Hours passed, and I finally woke up.  The nice man across from me caught my eye and smiled, and let out a little “umph.”  And that’s when I remembered all the noises I’d made and how my mouth was wide open and how my head was going all nutso. Was I ever embarrassed! So I tried to show him how civilized I was the rest of the trip by pretend-reading a smart person book–Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther I believe, and snacking on a little piece of pecorino cheese, green olives and crackers that I’d brought along.

Anyway, I was sleeping like that the other night.  My mouth was wide open and I was so lost in dream land that I couldn’t be stirred from my slumber.  And even though I heard the Beast come home, and I felt him kiss me on the forehead, and I heard him go upstairs to make music for a real commission he received for eight hours of dance music for an exercise video, nothing woke me up. It was divine.

Hours later, while I was in the middle of dreaming of the pasta I would make for dinner, some background noise of pages being turned finally woke me up.  I forced my eyes open and saw the Beast sitting in a chair across from the couch, flipping through the most recent New Yorker.  It was a bit creepy.

Foodie:  What are you doing over there?

Beast:  Oh, I’m just waiting until you get up so we can have dinner.

Foodie:  You’re waiting for me to get up?  Did you finish your work?

Beast:  Mostly.  I’m just really hungry.  Aren’t you?  It’s 9:30pm.  Do you want to just go straight to bed?  I can make myself a Dr. Oetker’s pizza.

Foodie:  How many Dr. Oetker pizzas are left?

Beast:  Just one.

Foodie.  Oh.  

Beast:  Did I wake you?

Foodie:  Well, a little bit.  But that’s okay.  I’m up.

It took everything I had in me to peel myself off that couch and get into the kitchen. Once I got there, the pasta I dreamed about began to materialize.

I started by crisping up some prosciutto (courtesy of Laura, who left behind a nubbin of her dad’s homemade glorious stuff) and garlic scape.  And then I added a pint of Ontario baby Roma tomatoes.  I let that get all saucy for a bit.

And then I got a bit fancy, and deglazed the pan with a bit of white wine, which I was also drinking.

And then I added my cooked gnocchi and a big handful of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, along with a touch of that starchy pasta water, to my pan.

And then the Beast came into the kitchen to watch me make dinner.

Beast:  Now don’t get mad at me here, but you know what would be an amazing addition to this pasta?

Foodie:  What?

Beast:  Alfredo sauce!

Foodie:  Alfredo sauce?  Like, from a jar?  Do you know what sort of crap is in that stuff?  Actually, I don’t even know what they put in there.  What is it anyway, like a roux, or a besciamelle sauce?

Beast:  I don’t know but it would be amazing with what you have going on in there.

Foodie:  No it wouldn’t.  It would be terrible.  That’s a stupid idea.

Beast:  What are you doing?  What is that?

Foodie: It’s arugola!  What do you think it is?!  

Beast:  Are you putting it in the pasta?

Foodie:  YES!  It gets all wilted and lovely.  I did it last week too and you liked it.

Beast:  Why do you hate me so much tonight?

Foodie:  I don’t hate you.  I just think it’s funny that it probably never occurred to you that YOU could have made dinner tonight.  Instead, you sat in a chair like a creep and watched me sleep and made just enough noise to wake me up.  

Beast:  What would I make for dinner?

Foodie:  I bet you secretly hoped that I’d go straight to bed without dinner so you could just pop in that Dr. Oetker’s pizza.

Beast:  Yes.

Foodie:  Well, I’ve rarely gone to bed without dinner in my life time.  Listen, I’m sorry.  I just woke up and am a bit grumpy still.  Just give me a second to wake up.

Beast:  Did you notice that I took out the green bin and the garbage this morning?

Foodie:  Yes I did notice.  Thank you very much.

Beast:  Did you notice that I unplugged the sink in the washroom? I don’t know if you know how disgusting a job that is.

Foodie:  Thanks for doing it.  Thanks for being the big man of the house around here.

Beast:  You’re acting like a skinny bitch right now!

Foodie:  What did you just call me?

Beast:  You know, like that book, Skinny Little Bitches.

Foodie:  I don’t think that’s what it’s called, and I don’t think me losing six pounds in one year makes me a skinny bitch.

Beast:  Well you’re acting like one.  Stop hating me! 

Foodie:  I don’t hate you!  I just am tired and hungry!

I was yelling and laughing at the same time, sort of like a maniac.  But I did manage to plate our dinner.

It was amazing–maybe one of the best pastas I’ve ever made on the fly.  I’m going to start cooking with wine more because it really took this dinner to another level.  Or maybe it was the fact that I was cooking and drinking wine at the same time. Whatever.

Beast:  This is really, really good.  Thanks for making it for me.

Foodie:  You’re welcome.

Beast: After dinner, I need you to listen to some music I made because it’s supposed to sound like Alicia Keyes, Usher, Drake, Beyonce–

Foodie:  What in the hell are you talking about?

Beast:  For the exercise video.

Foodie:  Oh right.  But I can’t even name one Drake song.

Beast: Well, I still want you to listen to it.

Foodie:  Okay.  Listen, I’m sorry that I’m acting like a skinny bitch.  I was just so tired! I haven’t felt like that in a long time.  

Beast:  That’s okay.  I’ll tell you what:  I’ll do the dishes.

Foodie:  I like how you say that like you’re some sort of hero for offering.

Beast:  Want to keep me company in the kitchen?

Foodie:  Well, that’s very tempting, but would you mind if I watched an episode of Friday Night Lights instead?

Beast:  (Sighing)  I guess that’s okay.

The Beast stayed on the couch with me but I didn’t start the DVD.  I just sat there with the episode all cued up to play.

Beast:  What are you waiting for?

Foodie:  I can’t watch Friday Night Lights with you.

Beast:  Why not?

Foodie:  Because you just make fun of everything!  And I’m really starting to like this show and you’ll just ruin it with your sassy mouth.  And don’t you have to do the dishes?

Beast:  Fine!  I’ll be in the kitchen cleaning up, after I took out the garbage, and after I cleaned out the drain, and after I worked all day and after I worked all night and after recovering from an illness (balls) and my allergies are so bad…and…

I think he may have kept talking to himself all the way down the hall to the kitchen, and even while he washed up the dishes, but I can’t be certain:  Have you seen how attractive the men are in this TV show?  

Foodie:  ***

Beast:  ***


Categories: At Home

6 replies »

  1. Brilliant. I feel like I am reading the script for the tv show that will become the comic and wise touchstone of a generation. Perhaps webisodes. Dunno. Just spitballin’ here. You know what is ironic? I WAS THAT MAN ON THE TRAIN! I remember that day, coming home from a conference of industrialists. I smiled at you when you woke up because I had carefully lettered “Ich bin ein Berliner” on your forehead with my Shärpiemarkerdeviz while you slumbered, which worked on so many levels (Berliners are known for falling asleep in public due to their late-night new wave lifestyles, and they are also a kind of doughnut.) I also thought you were American. To think we finally e-meet after all these years!

    That is a beautiful late night supper! Did you refrigerate those tomatoes? They look a little chilled.

    • Stephen™,

      You know, I wondered if anyone would notice that condensation on the tomatoes. And of course you did, with your artistic eye for detail. I know you’re not supposed to keep tomatoes in the fridge, and normally I don’t–but I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to use these beauties for four days and I didn’t want them to ripen any more. I won’t make a habit of it.

      You should also know that my sweet mother called moments ago to discuss this latest post. At first she was apologetic because she knew I had just woken up (I accidentally watched four episodes of Friday Night Lights when I got home from work at 11:30pm.) But then she wanted to get down to brass tacks: “Oh look, you’ve got one comment,” she informed me in real time. “It’s from that Stephen™! He’s so funny! And Auntie Sandy and I joked that we both need a dictionary when we read his comments. He uses bigger words than your brother does!”

      Me too mom, me too. And with every Stephen™ comment, I learn a new word. Like Shärpiemarkerdeviz.

  2. What a paragon your mother must be, to have produced a marvel like yourself! I am glad to have provided a moment’s diversion for her. I am a little worried that you describe the cast of FNL as “men”. Depending on what season you are watching they are meant to be fifteen years old. I know that you are cohabitating with a younger man, but… No wonder your mother called you.

    Perhaps you are talking about Buddy Garrity, though, in which case I understand. Who wouldn’t be won over by his talk of “pan-frying steaks in butter, the way the good Lord intended them to be made”?

  3. 1. Brett (my husband) is OBSESSED with FNL and I ALWAYS make fun of him for being so OBSESSED with it… although recently, when I saw Netflix describe it as an “emotional drama” I immediately thought differently of FNL and Brett.

    2. I read the book about the Skinny Bitches. It was ridiculous. They are vegan (which is awesome) but say terrible things like, “Don’t drink beer because it makes you gassy and gross.” and “Don’t eat lentils before you go out in your LBD, because you’ll be gassy and gross.” This line of comments has forced me to both drink beer AND eat lentils before venturing into the world in an LBD. Anyway, I actually, LOL’d at the Beast’s skinny bitch comment… that was a very funny comment…

    3. I have a bag of tomatoes in my fridge right now too, and I feel guilty about it.

    • 1. By all accounts FNL is a show that I would normally not be take with (football? God-loving Texans?), but I am drawn like a moth to a flickering light to the trials and tribulations of Coach, his family, the boys, and the townsfolk. I’m glad I have a kindred spirit in Brett.

      2. I shall join you in drinking beer and eating lentils every time I put on a LBD. I promise.

      3. I feel better about the tomatoes now.

  4. Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose – no matter how many times Coach says that, I get goosebumples. And I have a lady-crush on Tammi Taylor. And it hardly even bugs me that there are mid-to-late 20 year olds playing teenagers again. And it only gets better and better, although I’m still not sold on Season 4…I’ll stop now. I’m probably putting you to sleep again…

    And I’ve always envied people who can go to sleep and ‘forget’ about dinner. I am not and never will be the sort of person who’s able to forget about dinner. I think about dinner all day.

    That pasta looks like the kind of dinner I’d dream about all day.

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