Despite ALL the “Copy-Cat-Pasta-Making” my children will NOT eat “Mummy’s Pasta Bianco my Mother-in-Law gives me the same pasta – which can’t be bought from that super handy Tesco-dude who delivers my weekly food shop with a cheeky wink and always so eager to chat about how CRAZY it is that my Pitted Black Olives have been “Substituted “with CAPERS?!?!? (Oh how he laughs………whilst I imagine him choking on an olive). I buy the exact same Parmesan cheese from the very guy she buys it from. I go to great lengths to grate the cheese in the same way Nonna does it. I EVEN leave a little cooking water in the bottom of the pan to keep it moist JUST like she does.
BUT my children refuse to eat my carefully prepared pasta because it’s NOT Nonna’s pasta. Finally after some considerable thought, I think I may have answer. The other day, Nonna was drizzling a little extra virgin olive oil over the pasta before serving – like she taught me to and I caught sight of her olive oil and it looked a strange colour – it’s a darker brown and smells a little musty, if I’m honest. But that could be the whiff of the Parmesan cheese getting muddled in because the ONLY way I can get near the oil is when it’s already on the pasta.
That woman has been hiding that bottle of oil from me all these years – like it’s her deep dark secret. the other day, I attempted to get close enough to have a good look at the oil, to see what made it so frigging special and the diminutive 4 foot 82 year old ACTUALLY shoved me out of the way. She said she was merely “trying to stop the peas from boiling over” – but I gave her a knowing look which she returned with a WAY too innocent look that wasn’t fooling no one. The more I think about what could be in that oil the more I think it’s linked to her complaints that my children are “Too Skinny”.
Those with Italian parents will know oh too well that to be too skinny, means you could be morbidly obese and you would still need fattening up. In fact, you could die of starvation even whilst sitting at the dinner table actually eating! Seriously, If you don’t eat quickly enough the Grim Reaper takes time out of his busy schedule and travels all the way over from African countries where people die of starvation and knocks on your door and he’s not returning that copy of Barney the Purple Dinosaur. He’s coming to cart your half-starved-fat-arse off to where scary things are like The Devil, The Lupo, and places where you don’t get offered food the minute you walk into someone’s house.
My children are short for their ages, they are always going to be short – I come from a long line of shorties and my partner is Sicilian (enough said…..well maybe not….let’s just put it this way – the Mafia comes from Sicily and I would hasten to guess that all those theories of why it formed like poverty for an example could be just a cover for a simple case of -“short man syndrome”).
So my kids are not going to grow taller if they eat more. They are ONLY going to grow wider. But according to Sicilian Grandparents apparently food and lots of it, can overcome things like ones genes. Now back to my original hypothesis which is this – I reckon the old dear is lacing her olive oil with highly addictive and incredibly calorific Corn Syrup!!! That super sweet stuff that made all those Americans start having to buy not one but two and let’s face it sometimes three seats on a plane. The evidence is pointing to the oil and THE only way I can confirm my suspicions is to steal a sample and get it tested at a lab. Now all I need to do is devise a cunning plan to get close enough to her oil hiding place. I’m gonna sleep on it……..