Pasta strings my family together into a ball of yarn hugging us tighter in togetherness. After a hard day of work for my dad or day of school for my sister and me, the string noodles bring us together, with binding love. As I walk into the house, the aroma of marinara sauce cushions our arrival from the outside. We are safe, at home with each other as our forks twirl the spaghetti. The noodles are empowering each of us as they shied us from the day’s endeavors. It is a form of protection and confidence instilled upon us by the noodles.
During the course of each day, my family members and I may be dissatisfied with the events that have occurred. One flawless part of my day that I look forward to is the noodles, the smell of garlic invading my nostrils like tiny fragrant aliens aboard a spaceship.
The taste of the tomatoes still lingers in my mouth as I lick my lips with pleasure; it is an everlasting familiar flavor that hovers on top of my tongue. As I reminisce about this delightful dinner I recall the chewing and the munching which was very loud, like feet stomping on the stairs. Our teeth devoured such as enjoyable twist of noodles; sauce dripped down our chins and flopped onto our shirts like raindrops falling off a gutter onto the soil. Conversation was minimal as the consumption of the noodles took the majority of the time. For a brief moment I forgot what happened in the past hours and nothing else mattered except the long thin pieces of pasta in my mouth.
On other nights of the week, possibly a busy night like a Tuesday when I have softball practice or perhaps a Thursday, my mother will surprise me with rice and chicken for dinner. This rice doesn’t chain my family together; it falls off the utensil taking our emotion and togetherness with it. Another night she may prepare potatoes, however, this warm part of the meal does not satisfy either. Each member of my family, whether it is my father or my sister or me, one of us will complain about the potato. It isn’t baked, it isn’t roasted or it isn’t mashed, it’s just not the way we like it. The potatoes don’t bring us together. It does not fill us with love or warmth, rather it encompasses us in a cool tension that fills the air between us at the dinner table. Potatoes and rice do not fulfill our emotional needs and cannot replace the pasta; instead it tears us apart as each rice kernel falls on the plate.
The power of stringy pasta keeps my family intact. It hugs us in flour knots as peace and serenity become part of this recipe. Perfection of the noodle is in the smell of garlic and the tomato flavor that is fresh in my memory. We are bound like pasta that has once been brittle and alone in the box but soft, pliable, and together is our family. The strands weave in a knot around our forks threaded together like us. Spaghetti intertwined in the openings of the fork links us together like an unbreakable chain of love and happiness.
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