Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mixed Plate: Have a Holly Jolly Holiday Madhouse

Tis the season for holiday stress. Can you believe it's all descending upon us already? We all have those days where you feel like Chuck Heston, stranded on a planet that has inexplicably been overrun by sentient, British-accented apes, only to realize, OM Freakin' G, it's our own planet, and oh hey... is that Malcom McDowell under all that fake fur? But hey, it happens to the best of us, even C-dawg with his giant toothy grin and love of firearms. I don't have a grand finale set against a long, dystopic lonely beach with Lady Liberty's arm sticking up from the sand like a giant popsicle stick. Instead, I will deal with the pressures of a marathon holiday schedule the best way I know how -- pasta. And lots of it.

Take THAT, Salmonella - I ain't afraid of no food poisoning - Photo by Wasabi Prime

I didn't make the pasta from scratch. And this isn't a meal for anyone else but myself because these days, I'm very much on-the-go and dinner is often the only break in the day I can enjoy. So this becomes the cure for busy, stressful days, maning I want to do as little work as possible and reap the greatest returns in the smallest amount of time. It's the American Way, dammit. I don't really know why carbohydrate dishes inexplicably become that go-to dish to provide instant relief, they just do it. Like magic! And it doesn't even matter why a day was bad/busy/stressful, only that it wasn't anything serious, nobody died, the itching and burning will subside, and multiple arrests do not equal multiple convictions. Tomorrow, after all, is another day, as Miss Scarlett would say.

For many, pasta-nirvana is an ooey-gooey plate of macaroni and cheese (that's coming up!). Which I'd heartily agree if I wasn't the one making it, as it can take more than a few steps, and I needed comfort -- stat. My go-to pasta 911 dish that helps me crawl into my Hobbiton happy place after bad mojo is a basic pasta carbonara. Pasta, bacon, shreds of parmesan, lots of pepper, and a big ol' fat raw egg on top. Salmonella threat be damned, I'm not letting a food scare rain on my pity parade.

Pasta: heeere I come to save the daaaaaaaay! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

If that bad day inevitably multiplies into a bad week, made sure to follow with the same course of medical attention: pasta, cheese, a bit of booze, repeat as necessary. At the time, I had the added benefit of an issue of InStyle magazine arriving in the mail, so a rapid recovery was assured, especially with glasses of bubbly on hand. As comic book antihero Hellboy would say, "I want hot noodles." The wisdom of the damned spoke true, so I got my hot noodles, tossed with homemade pesto and a raw egg for richness. This combination of comfort food with a new magazine full of pretty, shiny pictures seemed to quiet the demons in one's head and fight back the nefarious deeds of a day gone wrong. And despite the x-number of days till Xmas, I'm shutting my brain off just so I don't have to think about the massive to-do list that's looming over my head right now. Happy place, happy place, happy place...

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