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Food & Drink / The Gestalt of Cooking


Subject:  Re: need lasagna advice Date:  8/2/2004  4:18 PM
Author:  michaelangela Number:  14511 of 21260

RM - doesn't own a pasta machine, so don't you purists start crying about packaged noodles...

I hear ya, but one of the most awesome things you'll ever eat in your life is gen-you-wine "Pasta al Forno".

Step 1: Find an Italian grandmother. Grandmother must be at least 80 years old.

Step 2: Watch as grandmother gets up at 5:30 to start making noodles and sauce.

Step 3: Watch grandmother patiently kneed dough, then roll into impossibly thin strips. Note how she does this with (seemingly) no effort, a constant smile, and persistent conversation (in Italian).

Step 4: Watch grandmother build lasagna-type dish with 25+ layers of super-thin noodles in ~2-1/2" of height. Note that quantities of sauce & meat are less than one might expect.

Step 5: Put tray(s) in oven (you can do this part).

Step 6: Watch grandmother serve perfect, tall, straight, architecturally sound pieces with so many layers they're harder to count than tree rings.

Step 7: Gently press fork sideways down through the corner of your piece. Feel the delicate, staccato tug & release as the fork cascades through the many layers of texture-unlike-anything-else egg noodles.

Step 8: Sit back and cry because (a) when grandma "goes" you ain't gettin' anything like this ever again, (b) you know you could never produce anything as remotely simple, yet perfect, and (c) you've just learned why, in America, it's all about the sauce, but in Italy it's all about the macaroni.

Yeah, those grandmothers knew all about gestalt!
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