Pretend you’re stupid so you’ll get elected President. Not a problem. Then invade Iraq. Never mind that has nothing to do with pasta. Hell, we’d invade Italy if we had to. And we’d invade France jus’ for the fun of it.
Contain an incredibly large, dense mass in your kitchen. Hide it behind a door that says ‘loo’ or ‘bathroom’. Invite a dumb undergrad over, (any faculty will do though economics would be preferable,) telling him or her you want them to take part in a revolutionary experiment. When he gets to your house, have him sit down and then slowly explain to him about black holes. (Don’t worry if you make a mistake or two. He’s dumb, so he’ll never know the difference.) Pour him plenty of beer as you do. When he asks to use the loo, show him to the door behind which you’ve hidden the black hole – but remember to give him the pasta dough before he steps inside.
t’s unclear just where Shakespeare’s popular ‘Weird Sisters’ soup chefs came from, or if they were sisters at all, given their physical disparity. Some commentators say they were British natives, others that they emigrated from Sweden or Norway while a few even mention the Mediterranean. In any case, what is clear is that at some point they started working in the kitchen at Holinshed’s Soup, Steak and Salads in Brodie, Scotland.
Click on the metronome. Grab the raven by its feet and hang it upside down in front of the window. (Never mind it’s screaming.) Fill the pot with water and place it on a back burner for later. Turn on the oven.
The windows of the kitchen are foggy now with the steam that has condensed on them while you were cooking. It’s almost 8:30, time for dinner. You take the big serving dish out into the dining room where everyone is waiting. As you serve out the pasta, you notice that the sauce is slightly watery. It’s supposed to be, making the noodles appear to float just above the reddish pools of sauce beneath. And since the individual bowls are translucent black, the reddish pools themselves also appear to float in the bowls above the blackness as if hovering over a void. You sit down at the head of the table. Then you twirl some of the bucatini onto a fork to taste them. After swallowing you realize ‘Hey, I’ve just eaten some of Calvino’s floating bucatini!’
Lettore, alzati e vai in cucina. Guardi fuori dalla finestra. Fa freddo, non ti pare? Meno male che sei qui dentro al caldo. Giri verso l’interno e vai a mettere il tuo grembiule. Sicuramente non vorresti sporcare i vestiti. Stasera ci saranno degli ospiti e un po’ d’eleganza non guasta. Ora rilassati, appoggi questo libro – aperto sulla ricetta di Calvino – accanto al lavandino. Stai per preparare i Bucatini Fluttuanti di Calvino. E ‘una buona ricetta e richiede la tua attenzione. Percio’ spegni il telefonino – non vorresti essere disturbato da eventuali chiamate di lavoro o altro – poi afferri un buon coltello. Si inizia il piatto con la pulizia dei fiori di zucca, e affettando il lardo…
Only an essential, clean sauce can complete an elegant pasta dish as a purple-hued cloud can complete a glorious summer sunset. Not a vulgar sauce like, say, one made with Italian meatballs, those shiny, dirty round mounds of grease that sit glistening on the top of Little Italy restaurant displays calling out to passing Midwestern travelers like sirens to Odysseus’ crew. This dish is closer to the essence of pasta and for that reason I recommend you use only the finest ingredients, Martelli butterfly noodles, the most virgin of Tuscan olive oils, and free–range Connecticut chicken. (Avoid those of New Jersey, as they are often unclean. I know Hemingway thinks such differences are pretentious and without significance but he puts ketchup on his hotdogs. Ketchup. Hotdogs. ‘Nough said.)
Delicate noodles twirled
the sharp fork:
I am speaking of the modernists, of course, from Pirandello to Joyce. But the modernists still had a sense of something beneath them, even if they sensed that solidity below might be illusory. Because of that, their relativism was contained, in a way, by the real world. Post-modernists instead had to deal with a present void, the horrors of what had happened, a nothingness beneath that threatened to devour our precarious existence above. So lightness, ‘leggerezza’, as the Italians say, became an important theme in post-modernism, in contrast to ‘heavy’, certain characters and contexts. If the world itself could disappear, what is it we live in?
Since no lunch is free, well, unless you’re senior management, where breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, coffee, drinks, brunches, Christmas gifts, transportation, art collections, housing, computers, cell-phones, subscription services, healthcare and pretty much everything else IS free – try a simple dish great for the 99 percent of us on a trickle-down budget. The day after you’ve made a spaghetti and made too much to finish, don’t just take it out of the fridge and plop in the microwave. Instead, place the cold spaghetti on a big enough cutting board and chop into three or four to shorten the noodles.