Age old recipes
or so it seems
when some of the ingredients
are older than you
as you stir them into the sauce.
You don’t question it though,
It was the best meal you would have
until you went home again.
You didn’t question that either.
Not for the longest time.
I don’t really cook. I can cook a few things, but in honest I find the entire process tedious. I don’t enjoy it even if I could cook a lot. I guess a lack of interest leads to a lack of practise which leads to a lack of ability. My mother can cook, very well in fact, and I suppose my sister inherited some of that ability (though, not all of it, and she had to practise what she has). I seem to have inherited my father’s ability. Which is none. When I was a kid he set the kitchen on fire making chips.
I, in turn, as an adult set the kitchen on fire. I can’t remember what I was making, I don’t think I had even started and had turned the hob on and set a tea towel on fire. Luckily it didn’t get out of control like the fire did when I was a kid.
One thing I can make, that my dad could also make, was spaghetti bolognese.
When dad made it though, it was a fucking event. Like the event of the year (even when we’d had it a few weeks or months before). I can’t remember having it when I was little, it was something I only had after I was 11 or 12, like some sort of insane ritual. But then, it was always quite spicy so I probably could not have handled it before then. My sister never did develop a taste for it. I always really enjoyed it.
Because yeah, it was spicy. My dad had a very clear system and set of ingredients that went into his bolognase sauces, and some of ingredients were Indian spices who’s expiration date had already passed. I don’t ask me why. Most of the expiry dates were from 1990 – 1992. For comparison sake, I was born in 1982. So these spices had past their date by time I started eating my dad’s ‘creation’. I assume they were once brand new. Perhaps in the eighties, like me, but considering he was still making this sauce when the millennium came around and using those same spices, well, yeah – this is not something that can be recreated.
Unless you know of a store that sells thirty year old Indian spices.
Every ingredient was carefully measured. A whole tube of tomato paste, on top of an entire jar of Dolmio bolognese sauce, (usually four people at least were eating). We also weighed the spaghetti. 100 grams per person. Every single time, we never estimated or guessed, or just used what we had, we measured out the exact amount we needed. It’s really hard to balance spaghetti on scales, trust me, yet we did it every time. He was a little obsessive over certain things, I guess I picked that up from him too.
It was always delicious though, I always looked forward to it, always enjoyed it. Dad didn’t make anything else, Nanna made dinner and she wasn’t much of a cook either. I don’t know if it was always that was, or if she was already getting too old by time she had to take care of me and my sister with my dad during the holidays. I don’t know. It’s too late to find out from her.
My dad is struggling to look after himself a little now, he has Parkinsons and his right arm shakes a lot. A lot. His legs are starting to give him trouble too, soon he won’t just have trouble with spilling or keeping balance, but with everything. I have hopes he will take help when time comes but he’s a stubborn man. He spent so long looking after my grandmother (and for a time, my grandfather too), that he won’t be looked after by my sister or I. Not that we could really. I would never move and I wouldn’t have the time, no matter how much we love him, it’s not feasible; these are plain facts really, rather than based on how we feel about the situation. That’s much more complicated and a long way removed from Spaghetti Bolognese.
OctPoWriMo – Day 21