Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 Birthday - Part 9: Pasta

Aaaand we're at the end of my birthday.  I was going to write about not getting around to biking without using my hands, getting a belaying certificate, and doing cartwheels.  Then I realized I was boring everyone.  Time to accept my slide into senility.

Still trying to arrange my mid-life crisis, though.
Here's the deal. A decade ago, I bought a pasta machine.  Make-your-own pasta was the cool/trendy/hip thing to do. Being the cool/trendy/hip guy that I am, I bought a pasta machine.  Then I bought semolina flour.  Then I made pasta dough and fed it into the machine.

It wouldn't go in.

Frustrated, I cleaned the machine and put it away.  A few weeks later, I tried again and got the same result.

Frustrated, I cleaned the machine and put it away.  A few weeks later, I gave it to our real estate agent. (Hi Danuta!)

I've always been disturbed (insert humorous pause) I couldn't follow a simple pasta recipe.  Sometimes I wish I still had the machine to try again.  When Passover came this year, I tried making my own matzo; the recipe called for using a pasta machine to make it thin it out.

Fun fact: matzo is named after me.  It's short for the popular expression "Matt is zo kewl!"

Instead, I rolled them out by hand.  Then I baked them.  Then I gave them to my general contractor who uses them as roofing tiles.

"Shoot," I thought.  "If I'd only been able to make pasta, I could make matzo for my kids to grind into the carpet."

This birthday I was going to make some pasta at last.  All I had to do was find someone to teach me.  Turns out nobody I know can make pasta, so I looked for a class, one I could bring my pasta-averse friends to.

Turns out finding group cooking classes isn't easy.  I found Kitchit, which sends chefs to your house.  Sadly, I live in Silicon Valley; our kitchen can barely hold one anorexic model, let alone all my guests.
My current house.
I tried Sur La Table, which had group classes for a thousand dollars.  After I finished laughing, I tried Cucina Bambini.  Cucina Bambini is a kid's cooking school, but they were willing to take grown ups, and provide a large room, and clean up afterwards.

Slam dunk.  I invited a few friends based on the following criteria:
  • They had children close to my kids' ages
    I wanted the class to be fun for my kids.
  • They had to pronounce it "pahsta" not "pästa."
    Don't get me started on that one.

We got a big table.  We got paper chef hats to decorate.  We got cups of flour.  We got eggs. 

We got rhythm.  We got music.
I waited for something to go wrong.

Make hole in flour with Egg. Check.
Crack egg into hole.  Check.
Mix. Check.
Add water.  Check.
Roll into ball.  Check.
Bring to pasta machine.  Check.
Hold your breath.  Check.

It went in.  Holy shit, it worked.
My shoes weren't thrilled, though.
Meanwhile, guests made caesar salad dressing, croutons, alfredo sauce, and tomato sauce.  Odd thing about the tomato sauce: the first ingredient was tomato sauce.  Makes me wonder why we didn't just stop there.

Two hours later, we ate.  The food was remarkably good.  The kids decorated cupcakes.  The grownups got drunk and ate cake.  The kids were well behaved.  Everyone had a great time.  Go figure.

For my next trick, world peace.
Now comes the hard part: convincing my wife to buy a new pasta machine.  Maybe I can get the old one back from my real estate agent. (Hi Danuta!)

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