When we’re talking pasta, we’re talking about pretty much the exact same ingredients constructed into a variance of shapes. Make them flat, thick and long, and you got lasagna. Small curvy and hollow, it’s a pasta masata. Shape it like a wagon wheel, it’s a ruote. There are dozens of names and shapes for pasta, but with all the variety and choice, the one that we chose to hoist up into legendary status, is also the most boring, straight, thinly designed one of all. The Spaghetti.
The fact that it’s super cheap is more than likely the reason for this. For six dollars, you can feed the whole family, and if you’re a college student, forget about it! You can eat for days on a couple of boxes of noodles and jars of sauces. In fact, Corn Flakes, Cup ‘O Noodles and Mueller are how any and every college student can afford to drink on the weekends. Fast and cheap. In college you even discover that you don’t have to heat up the sauce. Just cook the noodles up, drain them into your bowl, and pour the sauce right on top. The heat of the noodles warms the room temperature sauce right up!
Of course, if you are at all serious about flavor, you’re going to have to add to the sauce. Sure the jars will tell you that they’re great and have everything you need, but that’s a complete fabrication and we all know it. You have to crush in some fresh garlic. You have to cook up a little ground beef. Mushrooms and onions are kind of a requirement as well. All of this, a little fresh spinach, a bit of salt and a half teaspoon of sugar will make just about any jar of sauce not only taste 80% more delicious, but also turn the thing into a full-fledged meal.
Of course “real” Italians will vow that home-made sauce is the only way to go, cooking it all day, slowly working in another flavor, tasting it, then more adding, them more tasting, simmering, stirring, tasting again… it’s really kind of nuts! I’ve tasted a few of these, so-called, home made sauces. They’re all alright. Typically there’s too much of something in there because every cook has a certain spice or flavor that they love and since they have to be able to taste it in their concoctions, it’s usually too powerful for everyone else’s palates. Usually I can handle a little too much thyme, or heavy up on the oregano. As long as the cook’s favorite spice isn’t salt, it’s fine. Outside of their own family’s brainwashing, that sauce that is “the best,” is really never much better than a doctored jar sauce. Have you really ver sat down to a home made spaghetti and gone, “MMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!” about it? Spaghetti is like a hamburger. They’re the safe bet, and all taste about the same.
Should you really get more of an experience when you’re only paying $10 in even the most extravagant Italian restaurants? How amazing do you really expect spaghetti to be? It’s good. It’s fast. It’s cheap. Boom!
See you Saturday for National Whipped Cream Day.