Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Pasta Recipe and the Wagon

Last night, for the first time in months, I concocted my standard pasta dish -- a core recipe I goof around with about every time I make, depending on the attributes of my pantry, but that turns out "good" about 90% of the time.

  1. You boil shredded kale or collards with penne noodles -- or you mostly boil the noodles, then add spinach about thirty seconds before you take the noodles out
  2. Meanwhile, you saute 6 garlic cloves and a hot red pepper in about 1/3 c. oil, along with any other vegetables you'd like to star, and usually whole walnut pieces.
  3. You add a little marinara sauce...store-bought works out okay, if you're pressed, because of all your other additions. Even plain Pomi (boxed tomatoes) sauce, or chopped tomatoes, works. If you use about 1/3 c of oil in the sauteeing, use about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Or use less oil and more sauce. Let it all cook until you have the noodles & greens drained.
  4. Then mix in sauce w/noodles & greens. Add about two tomatoes diced fairly largely, and fresh Parmesan. Salt it. It's very tasty.
  5. Sometimes I puree lots of nuts & basil & add that when I am combining the sauce & noodles & greens. Or I add nuts and shredded parsley. I often add carrots to the saute, or a leek, whatever vegetable looks handy. Last night I added shredded yam to the boiling water (which neither added nor detracted, so was sort of pointless).

I generally make this about once every couple weeks, maybe a little more frequently. It is always spicy and comforting.

Last night GreenDaddy said, "Wow! I just thought you were going to use bottled sauce on spaghetti." As if I were Queen Ragu©

So since I've made this non-bottled-sauce thing for years I thought: "Since when have I ever done that?" And then I thought a minute more and remembered how demented my comprehensive exams made our eating habits...for at least three months, we had broken all major rules of food:

We ate out almost every day, and ordered in a pizza once a week, at least.

When we almost bankrupted ourselves accomplishing the former, I bought lots of frozen dinners -- "natural" -- but, what does that MEAN?, right?

One night, GreenDaddy asked what I wanted do for dinner, with the cringe he had recently developed specifically for that question. By this point, the word "frozen" put tears into his eyes, and stressed as I was, I took pity and found some pasta in a cabinet. We had no store-bought sauce -- I never buy that shit, right? -- and no Pomi or garlic or peppers or carrots or nuts or basil.

But I recalled that during my white trash past, we often dumped a can of cream of mushroom soup over pasta and called it fabulous. So I dumped a can of Organic Wolfgang Puck Mushroom Soup over the pasta.

Campbell's soups always have the benefit of tasting like something salty but not exactly repulsive. They recall, at least for me, the tastes of childhood. So even if they help you make something foul tasting in concept -- like Tuna Casserole or spaghetti with fake sauce -- it's a fondness-inducing sort of foul taste you're creating.

Not so with the Wolfgang Puck organic cream of mushroom.

So that next day I went out and bought four bottles of tomato sauce and GreenDaddy went out and bought three. And we ate bottled tomato sauce on spaghetti one night, and frozen dinners the next, for about three weeks straight.

[[Okay....This blogpost is interrupted, officially. Something just busted into the attic. A critter. How do I get it out without going up there???}}

[back to the blogpost]

So one thing the comps have made me, you're noticing, is long in getting to a point. But I do have one.

After all these years of conscious eating and serious choices, just how did our 'greenness' go poof so completely in a matter of months? And it wasn't just the food. On the few occasions I cooked, I didn't even take the scraps to the compost, because GreenDaddy is too harried to turn the soil, and I'm scared of it. And I haven't made all BabyG's baby food -- she's eaten lots of organic, pre-made baby food. And a couple weeks ago somebody stole the kitchen recycling bin, so I stopped recycling some kitcheny things.

Which isn't to say I'm not on track now. But how easily did we, the people with a website called Green Parenting, fall into Greyish Parenting! I just read Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony and a running theme is: "It isn't easy."

And that's such a bummer. Especially when you really, really believe you ought to be green.


MaGreen said...

ps. Raj cooks sometimes. But during my tests, he was watching Lila every night, and trying to study for his own class...just don't want people to think my Feminist Economist husband can't whip up something when he needs to!

Fiddler said...

I love your honesty... My life has woven in and out of 'green-ness' over many years and it truly does depend on what your resources are, including time and money... The wonderful thing about being human is that none of us are 'stuck' anywhere... And when the realization comes that we're not quite what we planned, we have the choice to initiate change and re-structure... Hooray! Green has many shades and colors :)