Spaghetti has been a big deal in my life.
Editor’s note: That sentence sounds as silly to me as it probably does to you!
Remember the song “On Top Of Spaghetti” by Tom Glazer?
On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.
I’m 37 years old and I still sing this song in my head. Occasionally. You?
My mom makes really good spaghetti and meatballs. I’m talking yummy, hearty, fill-up-your-plate-twice good. It’s so good that when I went through a (very) brief vegetarian stage as a teenager, it was my mom’s spaghetti that, in the end, kept me a carnivore. Twenty plus years later, I don’t eat much red meat, but I make some exceptions, most notably my father-in-law’s “fill-in-the-Jewish-holiday” brisket. I don’t live near my mom now, but I’d make an exception for her spaghetti and meatballs anytime.
My childhood memory of spaghetti isn’t just culinary. Whenever my mom made spaghetti for dinner, my parents fought. Spaghetti=fight. It never made any sense to me, but now that I’m a Mama, I have some theories. Maybe my sister and I drove my mom batty while she was cooking, and by the time dinner was ready all she wanted was to be locked in a closet alone (been there). Maybe she was exhausted and felt unappreciated (been there, too). Maybe my parents were in that phase of “marrhood” (marriage+parenthood=marrhood) (yes, I just made that up) where everything is hard, there’s never enough time, and there’s always something to do…for someone else.
Side note: Mike and I went through a period once where we fought every time we went out to dinner. I grew to fear the nights we had a babysitter, and there’s something seriously wrong with that. Babysitter=fight? No way. It was marrhood. Eventually, it passed.
Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. Maybe there was one spaghetti fight and my mind has altered the memory over time. Maybe I should ask my mom about it. (Mom, are you reading this? Call me.)
After all these years, spaghetti is still a big deal. With Dylan’s sensory issues, especially related to food, our “strategery” has been something akin to throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. In the name of trying new food, we’ve done it all (at the very least, a lot).
- Color-themed menus – read “Gut Check” here.
- Picnics – read “Smile, Laugh, Quack, Sneeze.” here.
- Taste tests – read “Pancake Party” here.
- Meal decorations (i.e. cocktail umbrellas stuck in turkey burgers) – read “Fortunate Friday” here.
- Rewards – read “Prepositions” here.
- Therapy – read “Outsourcing” here.
- Tough love – read “Fear and love and food” here.
- Cooking together – read “Choice. Words.” here.
- Applied behavior analysis – read “Trying” here and “The Couch (Or Blame) (Or Hands)” here.
- Dinner logs – read “New” here.
The tricky thing about throwing spaghetti against the wall (in my house, anyway) is that it only ever sticks if Dylan wants it to. Recently, out of the blue, Dylan told me he wanted to eat – you guessed it – spaghetti. Of course, I wished he wanted to try chicken, hummus, or eggs, but spaghetti was pretty exciting. He eats a few other pastas, like elbows and ziti…but not penne because the ridges on penne are scary. FYI: the ridges on potato chips aren’t scary. At all. Spaghetti would be another carb on a long list of carbs he likes to eat, but it would be a new food (a good thing) and a game changer for eating out (a great thing). It’s much easier to find spaghetti on a menu than it is to find elbows.
I’m pleased to report that spaghetti – with no oil, no sauce, and a lot of Parmesan cheese – has officially been consumed and L-O-V-E-D by Dylan (Riley, too). Even better, Dylan ate spaghetti in a restaurant! In case you’re wondering, the preparation of spaghetti at home was quick and easy and didn’t cause a fight. In fact, it was just the opposite. I had the priceless opportunity to teach my boys how to do “spaghetti kisses.”
Is there a particular food that means a lot to you?