Hymn to spaghettini

Up here in the High Doganate, we are connoisseurs of instant noodles, and other sorts of “junk,” but tending towards the “comfort food” of everybody’s ancestors — who had to work in the fields and needed to pile on the carbohydrates. Of course, they had women to help them, in their daily chores, unlike the “gender-free” modern men, with whom I try not to be acquainted. Women who know how to cook “comfort food” were, previously, a gift of God. (The beer we could brew ourselves.) One could have children with them, and everything. But now I am wandering off topic.

Carbohydrates are the ingredients that make you not feel hungry, and their omission  from trendy diets helps to explain why, fat or thin, the average urban fashionista looks gaunt, as if he might have cancer. Nevertheless, my own consumption of these carbohydrates is not just to avoid that modern look. (See here.) My immediate object is to avoid fainting, when dashing out on the street to get away from the jackhammers. (Vide ante.)

Spaghettini might seem Italy’s answer to the Oriental invasion of instant noodles. It boils very fast. Like other Italian contrivances, however, it was invented long before any question was asked. But inquire, and one learns the Hebrews were doing it long even before the Italians (see Talmud); and the Wicked Paedia prattles about Berbers, so maybe the Romans took it from north Africa, while delending the Carthaginians. I am not a food historian, incidentally. Too, I sometimes break dried spaghetti stricks in two, which is probably against the law in Italy.

What can you make, quickly, with four or fewer ingredients, none of which is meat? I ask this question of myself more often on Fridays; but it is Monday morning, and I am already eager to get away from the jackhammers.

Now, in the High Doganate, we observe white trash principles of ingredient-counting. This is to honour the denizens of the “hurricane alley” down Georgia’s east coast. (That Natted State doesn’t even have a west coast.) Anything that comes out of a can or bottle counts as one ingredient down there, and “oleo” isn’t counted. (They fry like the French, but instead of butter, they use margarine, which is much cheaper.) I love the term, “white trash,” by the way; it is almost as much fun as “Paki.” The former, alone, once gave a nervous breakdown to a colleague on a newspaper I worked for. It leaves the woke, generally, in hysteria and confusion. (From childhood in Lahore, I consider myself a Paki, though not really an authentic one.)

So here I will suggest a Catholicized version of instant noodles. I’ve got it down to four ingredients or less. First, you need a good bottle of tomato pesto, from your Eye-talian grocer: that’s ingredient number one. Then, boil your spaghettini (about three minutes, and drain). Finally, stir together with too much of the pesto, and add generous dollops of (Canadian-manufactured) thick sour cream. My inner Paki demands that I add a wee spoonful of Naga pickle to this, even though it didn’t come from West Paki, rather from Bangladesh. But I am open-minded. Naga peppers are not for white people, I have observed; but hey, neither am I.

In less time than in takes me to put on a bat muzzle, I have an unambiguously delicious meal. That done, let me run into the street, for the jackhammers are starting up again.


ITEM. I was going to write about the pope’s latest socialist encyclical today, but on mature consideration, perhaps it was best that I didn’t. It is more than 100 pages, and I’m told, incoherent even in the original Spanish. In the olden time, encyclicals were short and to the point, and what made them even better, they were Christian. The popes didn’t obsessively quote themselves, instead of Scripture; or try to avoid the word “Christ.” Good thing I didn’t allow myself to go on and on about this.