A Case of Tangled Spaghetti

Friday, May 21, 2010 Saad Javed 1 Comments Category :

A Case of Tangled Spaghetti

“Their cause I plead – plead it in heart and mind…”

At the risk of sounding pathetically gluttonous, I have to admit that I seldom think of anything with more earnestness than food. It turns me on, the wholesome goodness of a fine meal.

So it also pains me when things to eat are subjected to unwarranted injustice.

Exhibit A: the spaghetti abuse during the five days of bake sale.

From the 12th century to the era of Lady Gaga and iPad and from Southern Italy to our Pharma Lawn; pasta has come a long away. It is a story of unvarying popularity that very few icons have achieved. I won’t raise my eyebrows if someday Time magazine puts pasta/spaghetti in the same list that contains Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Mother Teresa. Or Jesus.

You’d think how someone can go wrong with pasta! And I’d roll my eyes and make a ‘duh’ face and say ‘In a thousand unsplendid ways!

Spaghetti/pasta’s shape would influence cooking time, consistency, ability to hold sauce, ease of eating. So certain shapes are better suited for certain recipes. You just should not try to stir fry fettuccine into a Chinese style chow mein sauce.

Al dente as professional chef would call out – soft , but with texture: that’s what your pasta has to be like. It should split open a story on your palate. Doughy is fine. Leathery is OK. Chewy is good. Slippery would pass. But soggy and limp; you might as well add some boiled daal into it, make khichrhi and donate it to the purging, diarrheal kids in Paeds ward.

There’s a world beyond soy sauce and vinegar. That world is red. It’s tomato sauce and simple Italian herbs. Or it can turn white. Cheese! So you see, Americans are proud of their bucketful of fried chicken. Just the way Japanese own sushi. British: fish and chips. So I have a strong notion that along with Sophia Loren and Ferrari, the Italians would also be possessive about these twines of dough. And take my word for it; dried oregano leaves would never let you down.

But you know what. My unyielding love for food took a backseat this week. I am just too afraid of human nature. It has become so strong from the milk of human kindness. And kindness was what we all saw in abundance at the bake-sales, no? It was kindness that you all made and brought food, bearing all the expense, time and energy and for no profit of your own! And I would like to believe that it was kindness (and not greed) that made me try out and relish every single sort of spaghetti.

So take away the spices and herbs and delicacies. But give me kindness. And to that kindness add a scoop of kindness. And add a hundred scoops more. A thousand to that hundred. And upsize the thousand to a million.

And when that’s done, let’s be kind afresh. As when we’d first begun.



  1. Are you the same saad javed who writes in Us?