One of my jobs for the Friendsgiving Potluck was to bring the bread. I originally planned to make Parker House rolls, biscuits and an herbed focaccia, but at the last minute switched out the focaccia for some cornbread.
Sometimes you just need bread fast.
I like to plan. I operate best when I know what is coming. Changes or unanticipated surprises make me grumpy. Like when meal planning goes awry and we end up having soup or stew and I don’t the time or dough ready for bread.
I had a plan. What I thought was a pretty good plan. As I worked my way through my marathon plan for Chicago in the fall, I’d also work my way through Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook for athletes. I would see how their philosophy and recipes held up for the everyday marathoner, not just the elites.
I went to Whole Foods. Stocked up. Made the first recipe. And promptly got injured. I don’t blame the cook book.
I wasn’t planning on posting, or even finding, two back pocket recipes so soon, but this recipe is so good and so easy that we’ve made it twice within a week. I’m struggling to think of anything beyond a slightly soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a steaming bowl of 69-cent high-sodium ramen that is as easy or as quick to get on the table for a week night dinner.
Pasta and beans is not something we traditionally throw together here in America often, but you will see it all the time in Sicily. It really did remind me of sitting on the family’s farm (Michelle’s father immigrated from Sicily) and eating the bowl of pasta and green cauliflower they served for lunch. That’s still a taste memory that I can call up almost at will. Never mind the great pizza we had in Rome or the fish by the coast, it’s that bowl of pasta that something still sticks in my mind (and taste buds).
One other thing occurred to both of us as we each polished off seconds for the second time in a week. These also taste like adult Spaghetti O’s. In a very good and elegant way. There’s something about that rich tomato paste sauce, oil and pasta that must have been hard-wired into our brains as latch-key children of the 80s.
Some days just leave you drained and dragging by six o’clock. The kids will always eat mac ‘n cheese or nuggets, but you are left staring into the cabinets wondering if saltines and hummus can qualify as dinner. This is when you need a back pocket recipe. A recipe that requires little thought, little effort and little time, but yields something you know you like and will leave you satisfied. One of my back pocket recipes is okonomiyaki. The most difficult part of the recipe is the pronunciation.