Making Anew

One Year, 12 Pastas

As I write this last entry in our pasta series, on the eve of a new year, it seems a fitting space for reflection. While the reasons for this past year of pasta making (yes, that’s your clue to click and start from the beginning) were varied, at it’s heart, the practice represented our journey of trying to lead a more creative, deliberate life.

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Since January, Zan and I have worked hard to avoid comfort zones trying new doughs, shapes and ingredients each month. We crafted rolled pastasstuffed pastaspotato pastaspasta nests and even quasi-extruded pastas. In time, we even developed preferences — the suppleness of simple “flour, water, salt” doughs over egg-based recipes, semolina over durum flour...

But through it all, I continued to question our most basic motivations. Was it pasta making that we were so enthralled with or rather the idea of what it represented? What if we were being seduced by the type of people we thought it would make us?

As we formed December’s Mushroom Cheese Tortellini,  I considered the parallel to our making with Batch. At a time when celebrated artisans are being exposed, it calls into question the authenticity of our predilection toward beautiful things made honestly, simply and by hand.


What if we’re just hipsters with too much time to ourselves?


Yet, somewhere amidst the mixing and kneading, rolling and shaping, I drew strength from a long line of strong, determined women who, without much fuss, were capable of truly amazing things.

Though the world did not stop to celebrate my mother, my mother’s mother and her’s before her (at top) for their homemade breads and pastas or fresh canned vegetables, I have grown to understand the love and hard work that goes into caring for yourself, and those around you, through the intimacy of making.

Neither easy or glamorous, it is always rewarding and I’m proud to say that I will venture into the new year unshaken. Together, Zan and I remain ever inspired that our making will always be guided by honesty, simplicity and love.

Good + New

One Year, 12 Pastas

I am addicted to new.

All kinds of new...

From the promises held in the blank pages of a sketchbook to the quickening pulse that precedes a first kiss, I am hopelessly charmed and continually seduced by new.

And while we are eons away from mastering the art of making, I feel a well-earned lifetime into this journey. With each batch, it feels less and less... new.

As I examine the motivations surrounding my choices, I begin to wonder — when will loyalty’s virtue become eclipsed by my appetite for new?

Maybe the changing seasons are to blame for my misgivings... perhaps a fickle nature, insatiable and cruel.

Whatever comes of it all, I know I will continue to push and pull my way to something... something good as new.

All That Pasta Jazz

One Year, 12 Pastas

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Nine months and we are feeling courageous.

September’s pasta selection was left to my parents during their recent visit. “Rigatoni,” they challenged. “Rigatoni,” we accepted.

The first obstacle was forming ridged tubes without a pasta extruder. No worries. We rolled and pleated pasta with our gnocchi board like improvisational jazz performers in a sultry nightclub tossing the imperfect shapes onto a tray of sunlit semolina.

Our second hurdle was serving the finished dish, tossed in a light cream prosciutto sauce, to my afore-mentioned Italian parents. Knowing how they savor their pasta — several times a week with their outspoken inclinations — impressing our discerning judges was a bit worrisome.

No problem.

A staccato rhythm of fork to plate filled the air. Tap, drag, push and pull. Rigatoni pasta.

Challenge. Accepted.

Stranded

One Year, 12 Pastas

We wake each morning to find ourselves stranded.

More steadfast than the day and month and year before, we hide from the sun and rush to fashion a raft or buoy or lifesaver or something worthy of an adventure.

We hurl ourselves, furiously, into the quickening void. Waves stir and strengthen, dissolving earth into water as the tide takes land back into it’s salty lair. 

From our delicate perch, we watch yesterday’s island slowly disappear.

We are adrift, quiet and alone. Surviving the day’s storm, we navigate to shore and arrange our bodies under an infinite sky.


The only souls — together — we are an island, surrounded on every edge. 


Tomorrow we will wake to find ourselves stranded, more resolute than the day and month and year before. We’ll hide from the sun and fashion a raft, or something, then push ourselves away from safety and into the raging world. 

But not tonight.

---

Tonight we carbo load...

Let's Go

One Year, 12 Pastas

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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

 
― HENRY MILLER


No Gnocchi

One Year, 12 Pastas

At the risk of having my parents’ Italian card revoked, I must confess that we never ate gnocchi growing up. In fact, I still struggle to pronounce the word correctly.

I know, first world problems.

For those of you that were trapped under the same rock, the best way to describe the amazingness that is gnocchi is as follows:

Imagine your most favorite meaty, yet moist, cut pasta.

Now imagine that said pasta goes out and gets a big, voluptuous, starchy potato pregnant.

(Go with it.)

Together their union would result in mind-blowing, life-altering gnocchi-babies.

They are, quite frankly, the Brangelina of dumplings.

While I can’t remember the first time that I had gnocchi, I’ll never forget the first time I enjoyed the first plate Zan and I made together.

Mind blowing. Kinda like when Ted learned that he wasn’t allergic to bacon. Life altering.

Phenomenal.