You couldn’t call me a full-blown foodie. I will use the occasional preprocessed ingredient in my cooking. Canned, crushed tomatoes? Bring ’em on. Minced garlic in a jar? In a pinch. (A fresh-chopped clove has a better flavor, though).
I when I travel, I do my very best to try the “local” food. I’ll hold off on trying a dish at all until I can have it where they make it right. I didn’t try clam chowder until I went to Boston, and I’m holding off until I visit New Orleans to try gumbo. I don’t even bother to eat crab cakes up here in New England, preferring to eat them on dockside restaurants on the Chesapeake Bay.
Now, I’ve enjoyed pasta dishes well enough, but the only one I got really excited about was when I was in EPCOT center a couple of decades ago and went to Alfredo’s there. Of course I had the fettuccine Alfredo.
Even though I learned to make a decent Alfredo sauce (cream, garlic, and Parmesan cheese), I was never quite able to get the umph of the dish, and remained an indifferent pasta eater. To me, eating pasta was what you did when you were exhausted and didn’t feel like a creative meal.
A friend of mine gave me one of those hand-cranked pasta makers for my birthday, then taught me how to use it. Ignoring my mother’s rule (never have a new dish or cooking technique when you have guests coming over), I made home-made pasta (with copious help from my friend) and we had fettuccine Alfredo for dinner.
I feel totally in love with homemade pasta that day. Oh sure, it’s delicious — and that’s the point of food.
But it has an added element.
Making homemade pasta is just fun. My friend says that homemade pasta was a treat in her household, and if they’d been good, they’d be allowed to turn the crank on the pasta machine to roll out sheets or to cut the dough. I’ve made it with my kids a few times, too. It’s a fun way to have ’em in the kitchen and have a good time when you’re getting a meal together.
The funny part is that making pasta really isn’t all that hard or time consuming. Now, I’d be unlikely to make it after a long day on my feet, but just for a regular meal? Sure.
Lately I have been keeping boxed noodles in the house, so when my kids want to cook, their basic staple when cooking for themselves is gone. Perhaps I oughta teach ’em how to make it themselves, huh?