Dear Spaghetti Bolognese,
Our beloved but humble dish, to you I owe great debts of sanity, time, health and happiness. These are busy, busy days, and I am ever more conscious of how glad I am to know you.
We go back a long way, you and I. Remember you were the first dish I learnt to make from start to finish (never mind the ‘chicken soup’ I made from stock cubes and boiling water when I was nine)? Over your recipe I learnt to crush garlic, peel tomatoes and wear goggles when chopping onions.
Once I’d perfected you, I received my first ever cooking accolades. There have only been a handful of such occasions since, so it means a lot. These days, Spag Bol (can I call you that?), now that I am a mother of three, you mean far more than accolades.
You mean that, because I know you so well, I can create you while doing a myriad of other useful things such as helping with homework and pouring wine.
You mean that the children will unknowingly eat all those vegetables they usually shun. So beautifully do you disguise broccoli, spinach and mushrooms. More recently I’ve discovered the spiralizer, which turns zucchini into sneaky spaghetti. So with meat and veggies and pasta and olive oil the whole family are getting all the good food groups. See, you’re a genius.
You also mean that the children are happy at dinner time because they love your taste and your spaghetti is fun to eat. The plates are empty without having to pester and shout and bribe with offerings of dessert.
And you save on washing up because the whole of you is whipped up in just two pots (and the one that boils water only needs a bit of a swish in the sink). And, I can top up my wine while I add flavour to you, and save you until tomorrow because incredibly you taste even better after a night in the ‘fridge. Is there no end to your brilliance?
And Spag Bol, can I take the opportunity to say I’m sorry for meddling with your recipe? The cooks of Bologna would be horrified to see what I’ve done to you at times. Remember I even tried to make you go further with a tin of brown lentils? Sorry about that. And I see that your original recipe only had a small amount of tomato, some pancetta and chunks of meat instead of mince.
Thank you for being so flexible. Thank you for being you. I hope you and I remain great friends.
Much love, Meg xx
PS I’m sorry I always assumed you were spelled with an ‘aise’ like mayonnaise. Of course the two of you are not at all compatible.
PPS Do you think I could serve you up for Christmas lunch? I’m no good with a turkey.