Tonight Darling Husband made spaghetti carbonarra, which was nice of him considering I found myself standing in the middle of a huge grocery store at 7pm unable to think of anything appetizing for dinner. I could think of dishes, per se, but nothing I felt like eating.
Do you ever feel this way? You're hungry, but nothing sounds good? I think it's all tied up in emotions. Sometimes, it's caused by low blood sugar, I admit, but other times it's tapping into food as soul nourishment as well as body fuel. I distinctly remember being at college and working on my thesis one evening. It was dinner time and I was sitting upstairs from the student union in a large, airy common room/study hall. I could smell food from downstairs, I could see another cafeteria from the window. But I couldn't think of anything I wanted to eat. I thought to the pantry and mini fridge in my dorm room, the peanutbutter, the canned corn, the tuna, the spaghetti oh's, the cheese and crackers, the bagged salad. These clearly weren't cutting it. I remember saying to myself, "okay, if you could have anything, anything at all. What would it be? Even terrible for you stuff. Burger King. Mickey D's. Food court chinese food. A bag of peanutbutter M&Ms. Anything!" Still, nothing even remotely sounded appetizing.
I knew I was hungry, since I hadn't eaten much lunch, and worried I would reach the danger zone where my blood sugar drops low enough that I stop making rational decisions and get a headache. I started to feel really sorry for myself and imagined calling my mother, but didn't know what to say ("hi, mom, what should I have for dinner?") That's when it hit me. The only thing that sounded good was my mother's cooking. I didn't even care what it was, if my mom made it, I wanted it. I packed up my stuff and went home right then.
I remember what happened later, too. I was sitting in my parents' library, typing away at my thesis just like I had been in the student union, when my mom came in and handed me a beer. This really warm feeling washed over me, a mix of contentment, gratitude and... what's that feeling where you know you're being pampered and indulged but you're so happy for it and it's such a relief so you don't even feel guilty? That.
But tonight, I was saved by Darling Husband. I had just made up my mind that we should go home and take care of Baby Girl's needs and if we wanted food later, we'd deal with it then. (This was just after my decision to just make roast beef and brie panini, which was voted down in my head on the basis that it didn't sound good.) He picked up some pancetta and promised I could cuddle our daughter and he would make dinner magically appear. I definitely got the sweet end of that deal.
In addition to a wonderful meal, he also gave me a bit of trivia. Carbonarra refers to coal and coal miners. I googled it quickly, and found references to this and nothing to dispute it, so I'm going with it. For those unfamiliar, this pasta dish has an egg based sauce which is cooked by the heat of the pasta only. Traditionally it's made with egg, parsley, pancetta and parmesan, although many in this country add cream and peas. Darling Husband went with tradition tonight and it was spectacularly hearty and comforting.
The best part, hands down, was the pancetta lardon. These are made by rendering the pancetta, cut into little rectangles, until they're crunchy and dense, dry and chewy--which sounds bad but it actually a little lardon of heaven.
I'm glad Darling Husband was there to put on his super hero cape and rescue me tonight. He even did dishes.