First off, see that little ‘u’ in the word flavoured? See it? Spell check says it’s not supposed to be there. But I’m keeping it anyway, because that’s how I roll. And just for good measure: harbour, labour, colour etc. Take that standardized spelling.
Okay, on with the show.
You know that moment when you overhear a Tyrannosaurus Rex discussing cooking techniques and you say to yourself, “Hey I could pull that off”? Well that’s how this story started. I was reading the delightful Dinosaur Comics by Ryan North, when I came across this page wherein T. Rex discusses the merits of making spaghetti sauce from scratch. I said to myself, “Aha, you must attempt this ‘spaghetti from scratch’ technique which this intelligent dinosaur has so eloquently espoused.”
That was the beginning of a journey. Specifically, it was the beginning of a journey to Wal-Mart, because I needed to pick up some tomatoes and olive oil. The way was fraught with peril and danger. I was forced to battle my way through driving rain and bitter cold for the better part of fifteen minutes.
I entered that swirling cauldron of humanity, otherwise known as Wal-Mart, and a few minutes later I emerged victorious with my much needed ingredients held high above my head like the spoils of battle. People kept looking at me strangely, but I paid them no mind. I knew what I was about.
I returned home and began the delicate process of dissecting the tomatoes. They were still alive when I cut them into quarters and scraped out their guts with a steak knife; I can still hear their screams.
But those screams were silenced when I put the tomatoes into the blender and turned it up to high. After a moment all that was left was a sickening pulp. I carefully pried off the top of the blender and gazed down upon my creation, but I saw to my astonishment that something had gone terribly awry. The sauce was a bright and glowing orange colour that blinded my eyes and offended my sensibilities.
Still the experiment was too far along to permit such things to stop me. I poured the pulpy orange ooze in a pot and started it simmering on the stove. Meanwhile in another pan I began to cook the meat of the rare and arcane Italian Sausage Dragon. When this had browned to perfection I placed it on the back burner and prepared for the final simple task of cooking the noodles.
Simple. I look back on my naiveté and shudder in horror. The process started well enough. I put the water on to boil and when it began to move itself aright in the pot I poured in the noodles. At first everything seemed normal. I went on checking my orange sauce for consistency and flavour, stirring occasionally. But out of the corner of my eye I kept catching a glimpse of something strange in the pot of noodles. Whenever I turned to look the thing was gone. At first I wrote it off to the fancies of my imagination, but then by chance I happened to be looking directly at the pot of noodles when the thing surfaced.
It was the body of a cockroach. I frantically grabbed for a strainer spoon, nearly knocking over the rest of the utensils of process, and began digging through the noodles trying to haul up that disgusting creature and save my dinner from ruination. Other men would have thrown out such a batch of noodles for the fear of the taint they might bear. There is a word for such men: women.
My wife looked over at my frantic flailing and asked me what was going on. I told her I was simply stirring the pot in a different manner for…better texture. She did not look convinced but she went back to her work without question.
Finally, I managed to scoop the cockroach out. I threw him into the garbage can and said a silent word of eulogy over his tiny body.
By this time the sauce had simmered down to the right texture and the noodles were perfectly done. I took them both to the table, and we began to eat.
The sauce was still coloured toxic orange but the flavour was wonderful. And the noodles tasted hardly at all of cockroach.
Addendum: my wife still doesn’t know about the cockroach. Luckily, she doesn’t read this blog, so I should be safe unless somebody rats me out.