Pasta Night Disaster

Tricking your kids is a skill that the best parents have. When you can control their habits, you can rest assured that you are doing your job. These parents sleep better at night knowing that they are doing right by their offspring even though it takes ingenuity. I love how moms “hide” veggies in sauce. Even the most stubborn picky eater won’t know. The dominant taste of the mixture hides what they find abhorrent. Who knows why kids universally hate vegetables. You coax them and play airplane and any game you can to get them to down these vitamin- and fiber-laden plants. Now with the sauce trick the process is much easier.

I got the idea for a pasta dinner for my young nephews and nieces who adore any kind of carbs. Their favorite is the corkscrew style. So be it. I decided to whip up my own version of what I see in jars on the shelf in every supermarket. It will be the usual tomato with spices added to perfection. You can “doctor” up anything in a can or jar if you have a well-stocked pantry. Most cooks have everything from coriander and cumin to oregano and thyme. You don’t need to keep fresh goods on hand although I, myself, have some small potted plants on the kitchen window sill. I can use fresh veggies or frozen and I find that both work very well with homemade sauce. I go for the real thing because they have that extra pinch of flavor.

It sounds good so far, right, but not so! It seems that everything went wrong from start to finish. I overfilled the pot under my faucet. I’d selected a Grohe faucet after reading reviews that said they were one of the best you could buy! I expected better from this old friend but he ran amok. After adjusting the water level and soaking my shirt, I placed the heavy pot on the stove. I got a cell phone call and looked away for what seemed a minute. I looked back and the vessel was boiling over. There was a pile of water in the burner and the gas flame went out. Okay, calm down. I wiped it up and proceeded with my chore. In went the corkscrews and I sat for a moment to catch my breath. It was just enough time to fail to notice that the pasta was in too long. It came out terribly overcooked but the kids were coming in a half an hour and there was no time to make a new batch.

Disheveled and in a near panic, I opened the front door. A flurry of activity ensued. Somehow amid frolicking kids I got everything on the table. The overcooked pasta was topped with near-burnt sauce (I won’t even go into that part of the meal). I hoped that as children my nephews and nieces wouldn’t notice; but they did. They gave me a look and kept quiet but I could see disappointment on their faces. Pasta night was a huge failure.