In July of 2001 I went to visit with friends in Cleveland, Ohio. Since I am known for decent cooking my friends thought that taking me to the weekly farmers market would be a thrill for me and were they ever right! There were around four long enclosed buildings each devoted to a different category of food: meats, fruits and veggies, bread and then everything else! As we wandered down aisle after aisle and building after building I wanted to reach out and grab all of the delectable provisions before me to cook up one fantastic gigantic meal! As we left that afternoon my friends asked me what I thought of the experience and I replied, “It was ‘Death by Abundance’!!”
From time to time in trying to keep my weight under control I go on a long diet during which I eat only 4 ounces of meat protein per day along with tons of veggies. Inevitably during the diet temptation will arrive in the form of bourbon or pasta which can both bring the diet to halt! Even though I am an aficionado of various bourbons my real downfall will always be pasta, specifically linguine! My theory is that pasta is comfort food and linguine is its most perfect expression!
I was in the Navy from 1967 through 1971 during which time I did two tours of duty in the Mediterranean. This afforded me the opportunity to go twice to Rome for around five days each time. My evening meal on the first trip was memorable! The food was served family-style so as we sat there the servers brought out gigantic platters of pasta in a red sauce (I think it was rigatoni). I ate an over-flowing bowl of it and then another one! As I was reaching for a third bowl the servers suddenly paraded out with platters of meat and veggies! I sat there in stunned disbelief! Unaware that Italians eat in courses usually with pasta first I had thought the pasta was the whole meal! I think I was able to choke down one small slice of meat!
You would think I had learned my lesson from dinner that first night, right? Nope! The next night when bowls the size of hubcaps came out brimming with linguine I became “weak at the knees” and all sense and resistance fled me! I came back to my senses when the meat and veggies came out after having gorged on two bowls of pasta! I am sorry to say that each evening meal during that first visit to Rome saw the same scenario play out! Despite my many years of monastic asceticism it is not a surprise that my diet can be thrown out the window when pasta appears! I have unwillingly resigned myself that when it comes to pasta my motto seems to forever be “Death by Abundance!” And I might ask what is it that makes you “weak at the knees” when it comes to your willpower?