Fun Stuff and Humorous Stories by C.L. (Cindy) Beck
I love St. Patrick’s Day—the leprechauns, the shamrocks, the spaghetti. Come to think of it, it was the spaghetti that got me into trouble....
“St. Patrick’s Day is coming,” I said to my son, Davey, while thoughtfully stroking my chin. “What can we do to celebrate?”
Being a nine-year-old, he came up with a brilliant suggestion. “We could ride bikes!”
I patted him on the head, and wondered where I’d gone wrong in life if he couldn’t come up with something more exciting than riding bikes. Where was his imagination, his zest for life, his sense of advent—
“We could ride bikes up in the hills and jump them off cliffs!” he said, beaming at the idea. I turned pale, envisioning the medical costs. There’d be plenty o’ green if we tried that one ... green in the doctor’s pocket.
I reached out to pat his head and decided to pat his shoulder instead. Just for a change of pace. “That’s not quite what I meant. I was thinking more along the lines of cooking. What could we cook for St. Patrick’s Day that would be fun?”
Davey’s face went blank. “I dunno.”
What was wrong with the boy? What nine-year-old mind wouldn’t be brimming with cooking ideas? Where was his imagination, his zest for life, his sense of advent—
“I know what we could do, Mom. We could cook green spaghetti!”
I tried to envision spaghetti sauce the color of shamrocks. Somehow I wasn’t certain how to accomplish that. Make it with green chilies? Naw, that didn’t sound too appetizing, and despite the color, it didn’t sound very Irish, either.
And then it hit me. Dye the spaghetti noodles!
I pulled out a big pot, filled it with water and put it on the stove. Then I went hunting for the food coloring. I added a few drops, and it all but disappeared in that ocean of water. So, I added another two or three drips ... or maybe ten.
Aaaah yes, now the water seemed appropriately green. Davey took a long look at it. “It looks like swamp water, Mom.”
Critic. It seemed that everyone was a food critic. I gave him my best Wolfgang Puck stare and said, “Vhat? You tink dis food is gonna taste like a svamp?”
Davey looked at me questioningly. Okay, so maybe my accent wasn’t quite Puckish enough, and I should have quoted Adam Savage (from Mythbusters), “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”
Fifteen minutes later, when the spaghetti noodles were supposed to be ready, they were still hard as rocks. Possibly because of the dye, but more likely because I’d forgotten to turn on the burner.
And wasn’t it strange how the noodles were turning more of an off-green color? Oh well, it would all be remedied once the water boiled and they cooked. Then they would be a lovely, sparkling green. Green like a gem in a leprechaun’s pot o’ gold … er … pot o’ emeralds.
Fifteen minutes later, the noodles were ready—warm, succulent, wonderful.
I set them on the table, and my husband, Russ, did a double take. “I think there’s something wrong with those noodles. Have they been in the fridge too long?”
Davey scrunched down in his seat, probably trying to look invisible, as if he hadn’t been the one to add food coloring to the water.
Oh, okay, so he hadn’t been the one. That was no reason to let me take all the blame. I shrugged my shoulders and with my best imitation of a snobby, high society chef from the cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen, said, “Of course they haven’t been in the fridge too long. I just cooked them a few minutes ago!” To emphasize my point, I pulled a long strand of spaghetti out of the bowl and dangled it for Russ to see.
It did look a little less than emerald. In fact, it looked more like mold-green … as in, sat-in-the-refrigerator-for-six-months green. Not that I would know from experience about things turning color in the fridge for six months. Four months is my limit.
Davey didn’t seem to mind the spaghetti at all, and ate his fill. Russ managed to eat a few forks full before he gave up and ate green beans and green gelatin for his St. Patrick’s Day dinner. But hey, at least the gelatin was shiny and looked like an emerald, albeit, a jiggly one.
I learned my lesson and no longer cook green spaghetti. And with St. Patrick’s Day not far off, I’ve already started planning my menu. I’m thinking this year I’ll try something really unique—green hamburgers should impress everyone!
------ © C.L. (Cindy) Beck------
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