Fat Pants and Pasta

I’ve done it. I pulled my fat pants out of the closet. Over the next week, maybe two, I’ll don my fat pants everyday and admonish myself for eating all of those sweets and decadent foods that never used to amount to extra pounds. Was it the antipasto platter on Christmas Eve? Perhaps it was our Christmas day roast beef and piles of butter-laden sweet potato casserole, which by the way, was far too delish to pass up. I made chocolate bark and ate at least 20 pieces. I baked chocolate cheesecake brownies and helped myself to approximately 10 of them as they cooled. Those brownies are killer with their light and fluffy mascarpone cheese topping. I make them just once each year and they are gone so quickly that you have to act fast or risk missing out for another 364 days. Here is a picture that some nice lady took of her delicious looking chocolate cheesecake brownies. Clearly, she is able to exercise much more self-control in their presence than I am, after all she kept some around long enough to capture them on film. Mine were far too elusive this year and are now but a sweet memory.

Last night I made an enormous pile of homemade pasta with flour, semolina and eggs. Not exactly the entree one would normally turn to in order to maintain her svelte figure, but so magically delicious. Homemade pasta is a family affair, full of love and sweet memories. I spent many hours along-side my Uncle Joe learning how to make pasta. He showed me how to build a volcano-sized pile of flour and tutored me on the correct number of eggs one used to feed a crowd. (There was always a crowd for his pasta.) He would carefully mix the dough, deftly mixing and kneading it to the proper consistency. We’d roll it through the pasta machine, over and over again. He’d allow me to turn the handle as that ball of dough was worked into one long, smooth shape ready to run through the machine just once more and sliced into mounds of pale yellow noodles. All the while, his hands worked the dough, adding flour when needed and hanging the pasta on drying racks throughout the kitchen. I’d catch the stray noodles and eat them raw, making him laugh that infectious, happy laugh. His eyes would sparkle as he gazed at me with love.

I can see his hands now when I close my eyes. Each age spot and scar and that thumb that he broke playing baseball before he went off to fight in World War II. His hands were the hands of a life-long stone mason. His hands were the most gentle hands in the world. I loved sitting on top of his big, round belly as he watched television and taught me how to say “bicycle” in Italian. I loved inspecting his hands, turning them over and over and inquiring about each cut, scrape or scar. He would jokingly declare, “You did it!” when I wondered over his injuries, old and new. His hands taught me to cast a lure and catch a nice bass. His hands taught me how to play slap-jack, swing a golf club and eat butterscotch sundaes from Carvel. His hands lovingly prepared hundreds of delicious meals.

Uncle Joe isn’t here to make pasta with me anymore and each year, I miss him so. Yet, I’ve kept his tradition alive and I often make homemade pasta with the children. Last night, Cookie and I cranked out a heap of pasta. I kneaded each piece of dough and fed it through the pasta machine as Cookie turned the handle. We made enough noodles for an army. She caught the stray noodles and stuffed them into her little mouth while her beautiful eyes sparkled with delight and we laughed together. I wished that Uncle Joe was there to see her. I don’t think he’d mind seeing me in my fat pants either.

Comments

  1. Let the fat pants reign! For the past week I've been watching the pooch of my tummy grow and grow and have done absolutely nothing to stop its growth. Bring on the pasta and chocolate, I say!

    Both your brownies and pasta sound absolutely amazing. I loved the description of your uncle's hands. Beautiful!

  2. Fat pants seem to all over the place. Found mine too. Time to start running across Maryland now that my cold has passed. Thanks for the story and memories. Now I'm both happy and hungry. Not again.

  3. You are not alone with the fat pants. Heck, I even more my maternity pants with an elastic waistband this christmas! Lol. You're uncle sounds like a really sweet guy, it is very nice of you to continue with the tradition. Making pasta noodles seems like a lot of fun, especially with a kid around. 🙂

  4. What a sweet story and fun to continue the tradition. 🙂

  5. I don't know why, but your Uncle Joe story made me cry. We all need an Uncle Joe in our lives. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Bella, The world would be magical if everyone was blessed with an Uncle Joe. I was a lucky, lucky girl. Thanks for reading and have a very happy new year!

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