Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Noodly Appendage

My friend Cissy is one of the coolest people I have ever met. Not only is she cool, she has seriously cool stuff. She has an Aretha Franklin banner hanging outside her house. She has a porcupine-quill suit on display in her living room. She has long red clown shoes under the coffee table. She has a KitchenAid Professional mixer.

And I have a KitchenAid Professional mixer!

The KitchenAid Professional is an amazing machine. But Cissy's was even cooler than mine because she has the pasta making attachment. I say "was" cooler because, now that I have a pasta making attachment too, mine is just as cool.

Last night we tried out our new noodly appendage, and made our first batch of homemade pasta. The basic recipe for homemade noodles couldn't be simpler: flour, eggs, water. I strolled out to the coop to gather fresh eggs, noticing new buds on the apricot trees and the first blossoms on the snow peas.

You have to break a few eggs to make noodles. The recipe called for 3 eggs, plus two Tablespoons of water, and additional water enough to make 3/4 cup total liquid. I cracked three eggs into the measuring cup, only to find that 3 ranch eggs are well over 3/4 cup, before adding any water. So, in this case, you only have to break a couple of eggs to make noodles.

Adjusting the recipe, we commenced pastapalooza. Sure, pasta making is simple, and lots of people do it all the time even without a KitchenAid, but it was a new adventure for us. With our friend Dave helping, the process was one part gourmet kitchen, one part Play-Doh Barber Shop, and two parts Lucy in the candy factory. The KitchenAid pumped out a steady stream of noodle, which we gathered onto a linen towel to dry. The results would never be confused with the store-bought and varied from string bean to coffee bean in length, but once the little pastinis were cooked, we called it macaroni. And it was delicious!

Last night, I made pasta, something that I've always bought prepared at the store. I reclaimed lost knowledge; my father says his mother made noodles all the time, yet I've never seen anyone in my family do it, and I've certainly never done it myself. To me, pasta has been something to buy, not make. I've grown up in a culture that replaced cooking with processed foods. On one hand, making noodles isn't really that big a deal; on the other, I felt like Ghandi, making my own cloth. There's an alchemist's high when a familiar food casts off its packaging and reveals its humble origins. I no more expected to make macaroni in my own kitchen than I would expect to make gold. Behold, the powerful noodly appendage!

It's one more step away from the supermarket. Plus, all the cool kids are doing it.


amy said...

whoo hoo! I made pasta sheets just last Saturday! I don't even have a KitchenAid Professional mixer (I have a KitchenAid mixer that was my moms that she got back in the 70s - really! it's avocado green! but we don't have the pasta attachment. We have one of those Italian pasta machines with a hand crank). I'm also a big fan of Cissy's. And Nigel LOVES her husband. Can I be part of the cool kids?

Queen Whackamole said...

Of course! Maybe we need to have a pasta party?

George said...

You've been married for how many weeks and you haven't tried out the noodly appendage?


George said...

Ah, all this time away from the blog must mean you've found the noodly appendage.