Today’s post is about pasta. And unpredictability. Scroll down to revisit the beauty of one of the ’80s most beloved carbs. Keep reading if you’re feeling stuck these days...
The new year is a fresh start. Like the ingredients in a pasta bar, the possibilities are endless. While this may be true during predictable phases of life, this hasn’t been my reality in years. I look back at countless “new year” posts I’ve written, and a good many of them begin with something along the lines of “this was supposed to be a new beginning, but life has dealt more than its share of challenges lately…”
This has gone on for years. I think 2015 was the last time I sat down to set any sort of goals that I managed to meet on a decent level. Call it the realities of adulthood, call it the realities of parenting a young child, call it pandemic life… the name of the game these days seems to be readying myself for sudden disruption. Not in a panicked sort of way, but in a “go with the flow” kind of way. And the sudden disruptions have been numerous. Many people I’ve talked to have echoed the same sentiment.
So why am I writing this while surrounding the words with throwback-style photos of pasta ingredients? In part, because I find it funny that I started working on this food-themed post over a month ago. Weeks before Christmas, in any sort of snippets of free time that life presented. The photos were taken over a period of 4 days, and here I am on January 17th, finally having a spare moment to edit the photos and add the words. Let’s take a foodie break, shall we?!
Pasta was a beloved ’80s meal. From Pastabilities (the still-renowned Syracuse eatery that opened in 1982) to the endless pasta salad dishes that graced many a 1980s cookbook, this foodie favorite had its moment in the limelight well before carbs became the enemy. Popular 1980s pasta ingredients included:
- angel hair and rotini pastas
- sun-dried tomato
- cherry tomatoes
- goat cheese
- parsley garnishes
- parmesan cheese
- pine nuts
I decided to revel in the magic of endless “pastabilities” one afternoon in December. For reasons of limited time, it turned into a multi-day event, but I tried three different easy-to-prepare dishes:
- angel hair pasta with marina sauce
- bowtie pasta with sun-dried tomato and goat cheese
- rotini pasta with pesto and pine nuts
Full disclosure: the preparation was minimal. I assembled these meals from store-bought ingredients rather than making the sauces fresh. Boiling the pasta was one of the most time-consuming activities here, folks. My favorite dish by far was the sun-dried tomato pasta. The combination of goat cheese and tangy, intense tomato was so satisfying and more tasty than it should have been, given how easy it was to throw everything together. I felt like that teenage girl who checked the boxes next to my dream ingredients at the Macaroni Grill, then devoured an entire bowl of carb-y goodness without a second thought.
So here’s meat of this vegetarian buffet: In these modern times, even us retro lovers need to create our own pasta bar. Figuratively and literally. Let’s start with the literal, because I’m throwing a lot of pasta images your way today. Treat yourself. Take a time out, even if it has to be little snippets of time outs that you connect to make a meaningful experience. And now the for the figurative…
Create a list of “ingredients” that get you through the day. This isn’t self-help or trendy. I’m not telling you to start a gratitude journal or start juicing celery. This is survival. Maybe the true new year’s goals–the pastabilities–aren’t goals at all. They’re coping skills that you string together to meet longer-term goals. The kind that take the time to accomplish. If you’re lucky enough to have time and stability on your side, ride the wave and conquer the big things. Relish that process.
If like so many, you feel like you’re just treading water, just keep moving. Continue gathering your ingredients, even in the smallest of doses, and know that the day will come when you finally see how they’ve all connected to make something beautiful.
Happy New Year, and thanks for reading. <3