Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Curious Case of the Paint-Stealing Noodle

The other night I was cooking Spaghetti the other night and for some reason, it triggered this childhood/teenage memory.

When I was a child, like many kids, I started learning some cooking techniques from my mother. My first attempts (apparently, I don't remember) were at a very young age and a very early hour. My dad tells me he came down in the morning to a four or five-year-old me perched upon a wobbly stool, leaning over a stove with all the burners going. This was my first attempt at breakfast.

Fast forward a while to when I was in half-day kindergarten and spent the morning or afternoon watching my then favourite show - Wok with Yan. I watched attentively, pen in hand; trying my best to write down the recipes that appealed to me. For my following birthday, I asked for a Wok. The first time I tried to cook a family dinner was a fish patties recipe from the show, and I think everyone was pretty skeptical of the outcome (myself included).

When I was a little older and had observed many meals being made and helped wherever my mother thought I could, my confidence in food grew. I made it my mission to try new things and was constantly adding bizarre ingredients to the grocery list to see what I could make of them. Many (with parental supervision) failures and a few successes later, I was getting comfortable in the kitchen. However, as I was always trying things I thought were exotic and exciting, I skipped over learning the basics (true to my personality).

One time my sister was hanging out with me (too old for babysitting, too young to leave alone) and she was making pasta. I asked her "how can you tell that the pasta is done and not overcooked?" She said "Well, it's really cool. When spaghetti is cooked enough to eat, it will stick to the wall." So we took out a piece and threw it at the wall. It adhered itself to the kitchen wall and I looked on in amazement. We then high-fived and proceeded to eat the pasta (that's how I imagine it went, anyways). For years that was how I would test spaghetti to see if it was done, even though I knew tasting it was equally effective.

Many years later, we were back home for the last thanksgiving that would take place at the house, as my mother was preparing to sell it. We were in the kitchen and she asked "you guys have any idea what happened here?" as she pointed to an s-shaped void in the paint. It would seem that in my excitement of learning the new trick and my sister's excitement of teaching me something that I thought was so cool, neither one of us actually removed the noodle. It somehow went unnoticed long enough to take the paint off with it when it did come down. Luckily my mom had other patches to repair, so she had already sourced out a matching paint to make repairs, but I still felt pretty ridiculous about the whole thing.

*I know I missed the record and recipe this past weekend, as we had company and I will miss it this coming weekend as we are away, but I will get back at it soon for sure.

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