Post-Thanksgiving gluttony, I thought it might be important to get back to basics. I have been altering this pasta salad recipe for the last few weeks, because I think it might be the most delicious food I have ever “invented.” I am basically turning into your Italian grandmother. Now, bundle up and consider this.
Measurements are, fyi, purely guestimation.
- 3 uncooked C of pasta, boiled as usual
- 2 C of bean assortment (any will do! go nuts!)
- 1/4 C of white onion, diced
- 1/2 C artichoke hearts, diced (marinated or otherwise)
- 1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes (in my heart, I want to tell you to go all out with these, but they are expensive, unless you have a dehydrater like we did when I was a wee one. In which case they are expensive only time-wise, or if your child is something like I was and keeps stealing them off of the racks while they are dehydrating.)
- black olives, chopped
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs spicy/dijon mustard (I accidentally used ball park mustard yesterday and was worried all afternoon that my salad might taste like a hot dog, but it did not. Have no fear.)
- healthy dose of oregano, basil and pepper (salt is extremely unnecessary)
Mix ‘em all up and refrigerate. Like most things in my life, this salad is better the next day. If I ever write an autobiography, that will probably be the title. Yields 4-5 servings. If you are not afraid of tuna, I suspect it would be extremely delicious in this.
I spent a good part of my long weekend being tired and, as usual, a little sad, but also a good part was devoted to Alice Munro’s new Too Much Happiness. Munro doesn’t need praise from me, so I will just say instead that a few stories from this book coincided nicely with the reading I have been doing lately on memory and its effect on older adults (this naturally is juxtaposed with public libraries, and my dear idols at StoryCorps, but that is neither here nor there). The story “Child’s Play,” while not necessarily a happy remembrance, jogged something strange in me every time I read it. At a time when I am worrying more than ever about losing hold of stories I’ve been told or stories I might tell, a work of fiction like “Child’s Play” (as well as the title story) have this daunting ability to frighten and confuse a reader like, well, me. This shouldn’t be a discouragement. Munro is a force to reckon with, and these stories left me somewhat hopeful (again, this isn’t about her, or the world, or something, this is about me) that someone somewhere is remembering something. I am not 100% behind this, as far as Munro’s compilations go, but the title story alone is almost enough for this book to stand on. I want to recommend that story to every person I know who is familiar with her writing. Because it’s unlike her, and it’s strong (which truly isn’t at all unlike her), and it is inspirational.
Also, school is almost over, which means my life is starting to look like this again:
Ah, to be thankful for Tina Fey, and dogs, and new warm hats, and quilts from grandmas, and other comforting things. I need a hug.