When Boys Are Away, Girls Eat Spaghett-ay

Because I’m sick of thinking about bears, I’m going to talk about spaghetti.  Or, as my absurdly bad title refers to it, Spaghett-ay.

When Andy’s out of town, I eat noodles.  (Inversely, when I’m out of town, Andy eats Banquet Fried Chicken, the kind that comes in soggy red box and coats your intestinal lining with guilt and grief.)

My other pleasure to indulge in when he’s away is to cook dinner after Sparrow’s gone to bed.  Glass of wine, quiet house, meandering thoughts and noodles.

On Tuesday night, when I’d assured myself Sparrow was sound asleep, I started preparing my dinner.  As I was about to dish up, there was a knock at the door.  Our dear friend Mark (think Grizzly Adams meets author Tom Robbins) had stopped to drop off scraps for the pigs and to regale me with a story or two, bits and pieces of mostly true and always entertaining brilliance.  We chatted in the yard for a while, discussing the relationship between the solar plexus and plant pheromones, hugged and said good bye.  When I turned toward the house, I spotted a little blonde head peaking out of the door’s window.  “I smelled your food, mama.  It’s smells so good I got hungry.”

How can you turn that down?  So we sat at the table slurping spaghetti through our teeth and talking about how much we love tomatoes.

Tonight, as we were collecting eggs and I was planning, in my mind, what version of noodles I would prepare for my quiet dinner, Sparrow said “Let’s have that noodly-greeny thing you made  the other night for dinner, mama.”  Again, I repeat, how can you turn that down?  When a four-year-old singles out a meal you’ve made as her new favorite, willingly consumes the kale it contains and asks for it by way of a pseudo-description, you have to oblige.

And since it’s her new favorite and swiftly becoming mine, I figured I’d be rude to not share it with you.  So without further excessive rambling, here is the noodly-greeny thing I cobbled together for Miss Sparrow Grace:

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and admired for their skins, which are the color of lilacs as they arc toward wilted and brown
  • large bunch of kale, grown, purchased or gifted to you by a friend in trade for a steady supply of beets
  • tomatoes, as many as you have and can spare with
  • white wine, the cheaper and boxier the better
  • olive oil, which is the shameless lover of all forms of pasta
  • pasta, let your heart be your guide here.  We do not discriminate.
  • fresh herbs  Think Simon & Garfunkel here, taking liberty with the lyrics and replacing Parsley, Sage and Rosemary with Basil, Oregano and Tarragon
  • Salt, which really shouldn’t even be listed as an ingredient because its a foregone conclusion

Chop garlic roughly and sauté in the oil for just a brief minute.  Add the kale, which you have given thanks for and chopped.  Do the same with the tomatoes, ridding it of juice and seeds first by slicing off the top and squeezing the tomato like a baby’s darling cheek.  Sauté until the smell overwhelms you (2 minutes or so) then add the wine.  I didn’t measure but it was probably about 1/2 cup, but not more.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and let it simmer until reduced down.  The kale and tomatoes should mostly absorb it.  
Meanwhile (as they say), boil your water, salt it and add the pasta.  When the noodles are done (choose your method here: the stick to the wall test [which doesn’t really work but makes for good laughs], the taste test [personal favorite] or the blind guess), drain and add to the pan of kale-tomato-garlic goodness.  Add the herbs and toss with forks, tongs or, if you are a cook in a poorly stocked kitchen, your hands.

If you have beautiful bowls, serve it in those.  I happen to have two scrumptious, hand-thrown bowls from my co-worker Elaine.  I hope you do too.  If one bowl is slightly bigger than the other, prepare that one for yourself, saving the smaller one for your four-year-old (should you have one).  When you sit to eat, please hold hands and give thanks in the form of song or spoken word because if you are partaking of this meal, you are indeed incredibly blessed.  And when your four-year-old notices you rudely gave her the smaller bowl and smaller serving, oblige her one last time and switch.

Then, eat.  With great gusto.

About Amy Woschek Schmidt

little moon hoping to reflect the Light. writer of stories. mama to sparrow. wife to schmidty. wholy redeemed by the Holy One, Jesus Christ.
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2 Responses to When Boys Are Away, Girls Eat Spaghett-ay

  1. Karina says:

    I will be making this most assuredly. Now, if only my girls would eat it as willingly as your girl.

  2. ‘guilt and grief’— love it!!!

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