Today’s election day, and you’re going to need a distraction. I’ve got a little story about my mom and a good, easy, Italian, comfort food recipe because we’ll all need some comforting today, and probably for a while.
But be sure you vote. Too many people have risked and lost their lives for freedom in this country for you not to vote.
Now back to the distraction. I was responding to blog comments a few days ago about my new job and there was one from George that said, “I am quite sure your mom is proud of you.”
I know it’s kind of crazy to worry if someone who’s been dead for 24 years is proud of you, but of course I went there. Probably because, whether your parents are alive, or dead for decades, you still hope for their approval. I wanted it years ago and I still do today.
I remember sitting in my dad’s car with my mom in the Northern Lights shopping center on a gray western Pennsylvania day many years ago and asking her about it. I was the only child who moved away, who pursued something out of the ordinary, who didn’t feel I’d had any particular success at that point, and who didn’t feel quite up to snuff when it came to accomplishments in life. I knew she loved me, but I wondered if she was proud of me, so I got up the nerve and asked her.
She got the most horrified look on her face and said, “How couldda you askka such a ting? You done a so much, you went to school, you went outta dare alla by yourself, you work, you’re such a smartta gal…of course I’mma proud offa you! I can’d a believe you would askka me dat!”
I was amazed because I really didn’t think she was proud of me (which says more about me than her). I’m so grateful I asked her, and her response is something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
Sometimes that vicious little voice inside you convinces you of all sorts of things. You just have to know that the voice can be a liar and a big jerk. The best thing to do is say thanks for sharing, then tell it to buzz off. And remember this: Your parents are probably far more proud of you than you’ll ever comprehend.
Since I’ve been thinking about my mom I keep hearing another, much nicer voice in my head that keeps saying, “Hey, make pasta fagiolo,” it was your mom’s favorite comfort food and you’re gonna need it today! Plus, it’s easy! There’s no arguing with a voice like that.
My mom used to call it Ceci di’ Pasta, because she used chick peas instead of cannellini beans. It’s delicious, fast, easy, healthy, and simple to modify! You can whip it together in about 20 minutes then go back to nervously watching election coverage.
You can add vegetables like sauteed spinach or zucchini, or you can make it with just pasta and beans and it’s great! And now that I’ve made it, I’m certain my mom is even more proud of me.
And hang in there, the election will be a mere memory by the time Thanksgiving rolls around and our country will slowly move forward as it always does.
Ceci di’ Pasta
1/2 lb elbow pasta or whatever kind you like
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion diced
1 can chick peas (do not drain) or canellini beans
1 cup tomato sauce with fresh basil (I can never find sauce with basil, so I buy the canned whole tomatoes with basil, then puree them in my food processor).
(Optional: Sauteed spinach or zucchini or whatever veggie you like. You could even add meat if you want.)
Bring a pan of salted water to boil and when it’s done, add the pasta, cooking till it’s al- dente.
While the water is coming to a boil, saute the chopped onion and garlic. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the entire can of chick peas liquid and all. Next add the tomato sauce and cook it over low heat. By now the water should be boiling, so add the pasta. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add the pasta to the chickpea and tomato sauce mixture. Toss the pasta until it’s thoroughly mixed with the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Add whatever sauteed vegetable you like, or don’t add any, it will still be great. Serve hot with lots of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. You may add crushed red pepper also.