Friday, December 4, 2009

Three things

Food, fury and forgiveness (or lack thereof)


Last night for a quick dinner, I made one of Donna Hay's recipes from the latest Style at Home magazine. It was the only one of five 'fresh quickies' that was vegetarian (hey, at least there was one).

The recipe is for ricotta + spinach pasta and it goes something like... add 1/2 cup of fresh ricotta to 200g of cooked warm short pasta (I used half a box of fusilli). Toss with baby spinach leaves, lemon juice (I used half a lemon or about 1/4 c - it was a juicy lemon!), extra-virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper, sea salt and basil (I'm so glad I chopped all that basil at the end of summer! Fresh from the freezer, it still tastes like August). Serve with grated parmesan.

Oops. I completely forgot the parmesan - and I knew I would. I always forget the garnish! Next time I will absolutely add that. But I think next time I will add some of the roasted red peppers I froze in the fall as well, and some toasted pine nuts.

The pasta was really fresh tasting, and I made it with a high spinach to pasta ratio (trying to keep the pasta to around 1/2 cup per serving). I liked the lemon flavour, though DH said it was a bit weird and 'yogourty' (the ricotta-lemon combo did have that fresh/sour taste). I will definitely make this again, but I'll be modifying as I go.

What I like about the recipe is the vague ingredient quantities (I cook in vague, I understand that kitchen language), the fresh ingredients (cold weather seems to bring so many heavy dishes, this was a light and fresh-tasting dish that was filling and healthy), and honestly the food photography & styling in the article is gorgeous (I don't always notice that, but it made an impact!). It was a relatively quick dinner - the most time consuming thing is boiling the pasta.

FYI I'm not sponsored by Style at Home or anything - I know I've written about the magazine before - it's just one of my favourite magazines. I can't think of anything I don't like about the magazine, unless it's that it only comes out once a month! Hopefully they won't mind my sharing the recipe and my modifications.


This morning I woke up when my husband got up for work at 5:45 am. Early. Especially after going to sleep at 12:30 last night. I usually can get back to sleep after his morning ablutions, but this morning I had an absolute rage on. About something that happened over 10 years ago.

Let me tell you.

When I was in university, I shared a house with a group of other art students. Since I was the only one with a computer, I had set it up in a common room for my friends to use. One winter term we had a sub-letter who was a year below me in the program. Let's call him Chris.

The following summer, as I was cleaning out the old files on my computer, I discovered an art history essay on Sleep in 16th Century Art. I'd written this essay for my third year art history class. Let's just say art history is not my strength - I'm a studio artist through and through - and I only got a C on the paper. Really, it wasn't that good. It was about 2000 words and mostly filler.

But... this version of my essay didn't have my name on it. It had Chris' name written at the top. The creep had found my old essay on my computer, re-named it, put his name on it, and handed it in as his own. I felt a little smug at first that the paper I'd written wasn't actually that good. But I found the paper copy later and (insult to injury) - he got a B on the same darn essay! Leave it to the cheater to get a generous T.A.!

Being that the term was finished, marks had been handed out and I was moving on in my life, I never did anything about it. He'd already moved out for the summer, so I didn't ever have the chance to confront him. And every once in a while I am still mad about it.

My husband says (jokingly) the moral of the story is "Don't be nice to people." If I had kept my computer to myself, it wouldn't have happened. But I think the true moral is... some people are just users. And you can't not be nice because other people are jerks. That would just lead to a horrible world. All I can do is have faith in karma. Who knows what's coming to him. Maybe his teeth will fall out and the foundation of his house will crumble.

Why I was lying awake, thinking of this at a ridiculous hour of the morning, I have no idea. I guess it's still lodged in my mind as a wrong not righted.

Forgiveness. Or, not.

Can you forgive people who wronged you ages ago? I'm mostly not a grudge holder, but I just can't seem to forgive and forget that art history paper incident. I can think of a few other people who I can't forgive.

Sarah, from grade 8, who told me that I wasn't invited to her birthday party because I "just wouldn't fit in". That was mean. And happened over 20 years ago. Still, not forgiven.

Brad, also from grade 8 (a bad year for me apparently), who wrote - in pen - in my yearbook, "Hope you grow out of your training bra." How cruel is that to a 12 year old girl? Way to ruin my yearbook and create a lasting, crappy memory. Brad, you'll be sorry to hear that yes, my cups floweth over and you'll never get anywhere close. Not forgiven. FYI, if I ever meet you again, I owe you a good solid slap. You can pick which side of the face. And I'll even take my rings off. 'Cause I'm nice like that.

Cynthia, who betrayed a confidence and spilled a secret. In 1994. She was one of my closest friends before... and things were never the same after. She's since passed away, tragically. While I still value the solid friendship I had with her, I can't seem to get over the betrayal of trust. How messed up is that? Much as I'd like to forgive and forget, and although it's been 15 years (!)... not forgiven. There's no anger associated with this... it's more like a fact than an emotion. I simply can't forgive her.

My ex-husband, who told me after 9 years that he didn't want kids after all, and had only told me he did so that I would stick around. I can thank him for a valuable lesson learned about communication in relationships (although if one person is lying, it doesn't work so well). And I am also so happy that it led me to be with my husband, who doesn't ever hesitate to state his opinion. That can be good and bad, but at least he's honest! We're very happy together. Ex? Not forgiven. Nice guy overall, but really. That was lousy.

Wow. That's a lot of grudges. And they are all years old. I know there's no point in hanging on to old anger. I know it's counter-productive. I'm not the person who swears at other drivers on the road, gets upset at retail clerks, has a short fuse or is prone to temper tantrums. I'm pretty laid-back and laissez-faire for the most part. When people are stupid, I think to myself, "Yep, people are stupid," and move on. Usually I don't think of these things at all. But once in a while... grr.

Have you got a grudge? I'm calling it - it's okay to hang on to a couple old grudges. Yep, I forgive you - and myself, why not - for this character flaw. A little imperfection makes us human, right?


  1. Okay,

    1. Love the pasta combo. Spinach, cheese and lemon are the best combo.

    2. Some people are just (insert profanity here). It is hard to see the best in someone when the best just isn't there. Which brings me to ...

    3. I am a grudge holder. Some I have partly moved on from. I never get over people lying or betraying me. I often wish bad karma on people that have hurt me. Not very mature, I know, but there you have it.

  2. I think it is easier to forgive when you are somehow able to confront and resolve the issue. With the paper, having never had the opportunity to resolve it in any way, I can see why you're still holding it against the creep!

    And childhood memories? Hard to forgive those; I think htey stay with you for life - good or bad :)

  3. Understand!!!!! It is so frustrating and I like to think they are all done and over with but they do creep back up every now and then. I often find that I get mad at myself for still being pissed at them so it just gets ugly for my self script going on in my head... ha!

  4. I'm a total grudge holder, even though I hate how it steals my mental energy. Years later, and I'm still having conversations in my head about things I *wish* I'd said. On the other hand, I was recently reminded by someone about a "terrible" thing they did to me 20 years ago, and I could not even remember what the heck he was talking about. So, maybe there are many more grudges that we *could* be holding on to that we aren't, so on average we're both doing okay! :-)

  5. Oh yeah, I hold grudges. One against my mother. I dont think I could ever forgive her, but it doesnt help that she pretends it never happened

  6. 1. To preserve your chopped basil, try this...
    - Freeze a splash of water at the bottom of your ice cube tray
    - Stuff in your fresh chopped herbs and more water -- freeze again.
    - After freezing herb, if any is sticking out at the top, add more water and freeze again
    - Keep cubes stored in ziplocs (2 bags to cut risk of freezer burn)
    - Toss 1 or 2 cubes into soups, stews, stir fry's, etc. :)

    2. Homemade gnocchi pasta with veggies in cream sauce...
    - Add onions & oil to a fry pan and caramelize them (low heat, long time)
    - Add sliced mushrooms & chopped bell peppers
    - Dump in a can of condensed mushroom soup, add water and / or white wine and simmer until flavours blend (keep adding liquid to maintain desired consistency).
    - While sauce simmers, make the pasta...
    - Mix flour, egg, and water to make dough (if you desire, add cooked spinach that's squeezed dry).
    - Roll pasta into a snake and chop evenly into pieces the same size as a nail polish remover bottle cap -- will look like pillows (if you desire something more decorative, you can flip a fork over and roll the pasta downward on it as you press the dough gently into the tines)
    - Drop into boiling salted water (when they float, they're cooked). Voila -- homemade pasta with cream sauce!

    3. OMG, LOL & Giggle snort @ "Brad, I'll even take my rings off, 'cause I'm nice like that."

    4. Who can't I forgive? Friend of 38 years who punched me verbally a few times, then when I tried to defend myself, she ran away and wouldn't listen... never spoke to her again. Not forgiven.


Hey, why not leave a comment? I'd love to hear what you think. If you're entering a giveaway, be sure to leave your email address if it's not set to public in your profile!