Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Unspiritual Gnocchi


Robbie and Zack
It looked easy in Pula, Croatia. That might have been the nap. I had slept through the late afternoon heat and woke to the boys in the kitchen in the final stages of gnocchi making. They gracefully rolled the dough into thin snakes, Robbie slicing them off into small round shapes with a fork, dropping them into the bubbling boiling water. They told me how they had made it, how it was way easier than they had expected. It came out of the pot just perfect and delicious. We poured tomato sauce and basil over it and ate small bowls, full to our very fingertips before we had any reason to think we would be. There was enough for the next day that we ate with cold parmesean cheese on the rocky Ilistra coast.
And anyway, I wanted to try a white wine sauce anyway before I got home to America where wine isn’t as cheap as fruit juice.
I should have known. I should have known that the day I chose was an off day, after a strange set of classes and frustrations. I should have known because I had slept that afternoon just to escape the lonely feeling of summer afternoon with nothing to do.
Started early. It should have been done. But the humidity got in the way. I ran out of flour and the dang thing was still sticky through the whole center. How was I supposed to role it out into thin snakes and cut it elegantly into bead like perfection?
I wouldn’t.
World's Ugliest Gnocchi
After getting more flour, I wrestled its sticky self in fork fulls into the pot. It took ages. It still clumped together. Robbie called at this point to say hello. I burst into tears. Nothing goes right. Nothing. Ever. Why does this happen to me? Why can’t I make food? I had been at this for 2.5 hours and I hadn’t even started a sauce to go on top of the gnocchi.
It was The World’s Ugliest Gnocchi. Slimy and lumpy. Troll Booger shaped. Poor Gnocchi. It didn’t deserver this life.
The sauce came out tart and sour. Too much butter. Or too much wine. Or too much of the wrong combination of the two.
I ate it anyway and got sick.
I come from the philosophy that all things are spiritual. And that all the things that are spiritual and in relation to the human have some element of the physical or affect on the physical.
Sometimes this results in over-philosophizing. It has to do with always finding the connection between the two. Sometimes it’s too simple, too easy a narrative. I have a hard time cooking and I want to find some meaning in it.
Even while I was cooking, I wanted to find some deeper meaning, some thing to pull from it. Some reason to justify the misery and frustration I felt. Or some superstitious metaphor for how I've done lots of things wrong in this life.
But sometimes the meaning does not require teasing out. There may be one but it is not necessary to discover it and test it’s nuances. It just is. It does not need knowing to be real.
Sometimes, life just has ugly gnocchi.

1 comment:

Kaitlin Sickle said...

Oh my gosh...

"Nothing goes right. Nothing. Ever. Why does this happen to me? Why can’t I make food?"

This is me. I had no idea how much identity I put in dinner-making until I was constantly doing it for someone else (even if that person really doesn't care if we have cereal and popcorn for every meal.)