Memories of rigatoni and bowl cuts

Last week I humble-bragged about how I’ve come out unscathed during the past two years of cold and flu season. I also said that I wouldn’t mind getting sick because I desperately wanted one of those sick days where you stay in your jammies and watch TV all day, without feeling guilty.

And then yesterday I came down with a pretty nasty cold. I watched three episodes of House of Cards, the movie Mr. Mom and the first half of The Hunger Games.

Despite an extremely runny nose, excessive sneezing and a painful chest cough, it was glorious. It reminded me of the sick days of my youth, when I’d stay home from school, eat Lipton’s chicken noodle soup and watch my VHS copies of Anne of Green Gables or The Sound of Music. They were perfect sick-time movies because you could fall in and out of sleep without missing any key plot developments, because you’d watched them a million times already.

Sick day still life

Today I’m worse. I am not going into work. I am on the couch. It just occurred to me that maybe the first symptoms of this cold appeared earlier in the week, when I craved a pasta dish that my mom used to make. I came home Tuesday night determined to make it. The Beast had invited Nick for dinner. I felt a little bad about making a meal that I’d never made myself and hadn’t eaten in at least 20 years when company was over. But my desire to recreate it was so strong that it clouded my better judgement.

First, I called my mom to fact check my memory:

Foodie: So you essentially just brown some ground beef, add lots of chopped-up onion, a can of tomatoes, and then lots of salt and pepper after it’s done.

Mom: Yes, but don’t forget the noodles.

Foodie: Well, yeah. You used rigatoni for this one, right?

Mom: Yes. But cook the noodles separately.

Foodie: Yes, I know. But there’s no garlic or olive oil or stuff like that.

Mom: No, but you could use a little olive oil if you wanted to.

Foodie: Did you?

Mom: No, never.

Foodie: Well then neither will I.


The three of us sat down with our unseasoned bowls of pasta in front of the TV and looked for things to watch on Netflix.

Foodie: Don’t forget to add lots of salt and pepper. I didn’t add any while I cooked it because my mom thought that you should add your own. So eat a layer and then add more. That’s how you do it.

Beast: I’m going to add parmigiano to mine. Nick do you want some too?

Nick: [Looking at me]

Foodie: Be my guest but I’m sure as shit not adding any. Do you think we had parmigiano growing up? Well, we didn’t. But seriously, go ahead.

They both added liberal amounts of cheese to their pasta.

Foodie: Well, I think this is just excellent. Tastes just like I remember.

Beast & Nick: [Silence]

Foodie: This wine you brought is really nice Nick. Thank you so much.

Nick: [Pretending to read the label.] It says here that it pairs nicely with food that doesn’t contain garlic, parmigiano, salt or pepper.

Beast: Basically, flavour.

After dinner I went straight to bed. It was 10 p.m.

In the morning, I made a “green-smoothie”. I got the idea for this from a tweet that the chef Marcus Samuelsson made last week.

It was a Sunday morning and I was outside of the grocery store waiting for the LCBO to open. I was looking at Twitter on my phone. I was in a dark place, emotionally–not just because I was waiting for the LCBO to open on a Sunday morning but for other reasons that I can’t quite articulate. But the recipe for the “green-smoothie” gave me hope. So I went back into the grocery store to buy the supplies.


Beast: What in the hell is that?

Foodie: It’s a breakfast green-smoothie. I’m going to start eating breakfast and I’m going to be healthy.

Beast: What’s in it?

Foodie: A banana, a handful of spinach, frozen peaches and mango and a bit of oat-bran. That last ingredient was my idea. I was thinking about adding chia seeds but I don’t know what they are.

Beast: Let me smell it.

green smoothie

Beast: Uuughgh!

Foodie: What are you reading?

Beast: Ted Hughes’s translation of Aeschylus.

Foodie: Are you kidding me? It’s 7:30 a.m.

Beast: Oh, sorry that I’m not reading Buzzfeed or Facebook or making a Storify! I’m just reading.

Foodie: That’s very funny. I wasn’t making fun of you for reading it. I’m just impressed.

Beast: The ancient city of Troy is in Turkey, right?

Foodie: Yes, they called it Anatolia back then–

Beast: Who discovered it again?

Foodie: Henrich Schliemann.

Beast: When?

Foodie: Are you quizzing me? Uh, I don’t remember off-hand but I’d say it would have been in the early 20th century, like 1905?

Beast: I’d say the 1880s. Look it up on your iPhone.

Foodie: It was 1868. Out of curiosity, can you look up information at the drop of a …at the drop of a…whatever that saying is, in your little book there?

Beast: The drop of a hat?

I have my fingers crossed that a week of drinking my “green-smoothies” will help heal my ailments. I will keep you posted. In the meantime, I am reading my book and napping and eating. I’ve repeated this circuit twice so far today. For one meal, I ate toast. I can’t tell you the last time I did that.


Also, I’m wondering if my desire to make that pasta has anything to do with the fact that I nearly nearly cut my own hair the other day–into a bowl cut. After I mentioned to Erinn one evening that I was thinking about getting the same haircut I had as a child–and maybe even colouring it blonde–she said something interesting: She said that you can tell a lot about people by their hair; people who frequently change their hair style might be more open to change but also less knowing of themselves. Most importantly, though, she asked, Why would you want to have the same fucking haircut that you had when you were five?

Oh god I need at least 10 more smoothies before I can even think about answering that.

bowl cut

3 responses to “Memories of rigatoni and bowl cuts

  1. Didn't get Looper

    Well, first off, the kid in that picture is totally boss, and copping any one of her hair, attitude or outfit would make almost anyone more awesome–although perhaps not you, since you are her, and it might lead to one of those paradox-eliminating scenarios in which your younger self has to kill your older self, something it looks like that scamp up there wouldn’t hesitate to do once she put down that adorable little teapot. Or maybe she would just bludgeon you with it. I have a feeling she just makes it up as she goes along.

    Get the haircut! What could go wrong?

  2. Long time reader

    That is some good-looking toast. Almost a plate of breakfast spreads with toast underneath. It’s a fine line.

  3. Long time reader

    I wonder whether reading Ted Hughes’s translation of Aeschylus for breakfast is the equivalent of a breakfast smoothie, albeit one in which the fruit is replaced by nettles and something sacrificial.

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