I have a terrible memory. So when I occasionally stumble across an image from my past I like to revisit it. In this case it is green pasta and garbanzo beans. Or, to be a bit more specific, Padgett family reunions. My mother is a fantastic cook, now. She probably wasn’t so bad when I was a child, but she was a bit more experimental and budget conscious. In other words, we ate a lot of chicken done in different ways. And pasta, and rice, and beans. Remember too, it was the 70s and casserole was king — at least in my household.

Towards the end of that decade, there came to the Atlanta Kroger store something new, green pasta — then the eventual tri-colored. It was amazing how it matched perfectly the pea-green painted floor and  complimented the mustard tones of the kitchen. Anyway, after the pasta’s introduction into our home, mom thought she would take that show on the road to the Padgett reunion held in the dynamic confines of Ponce de Leon, Florida, or Redbug if you prefer. Stretched out on the picnic table, covered in cellophane, sweating a bit and with a ladle waiting, sat my mother’s pasta salad. Proud in its off hue. Yet, not surprisingly, a bit out of place amidst the potato salads, the plates of chicken, ham, those odd gelatin creations, pots of green beans and field peas, pies of every type and old men with snuff on their chins.

I remember feeling sorry for the green and the bizarre garbanzo beans. My strong chin stuck out and I filled my plate. Moms adoring nephews followed suit. But needless to say, it was one of the few bowls not emptied that day.  I don’t think she cared too much. As a matter of fact, I’m sure she enjoyed a bowl later that evening — probably smiling to herself. Maybe she could see the future, my mother. Maybe she knew one day she would hold them all in the palm of her hand. Because they flock there now. Different men, some of the same women, none of them can deny whatever she decides to cook up. And leftovers, not hardly.

So, I bought myself some fuselli, that is what corkscrew pasta is by the way. It’s not green, I’m no renegade. But I have a can of lentils and am wondering who I could offend mixing the two together.

5 responses to “Revisiting

  1. ME! It just doesn’t sound right, lentils and pasta. But I am no culinary adventurer to be sure. I once had my cousin and aunt to my garden in Atlanta and made an easy hors d’oeuvre of cream cheese spread thick in a pie plate, smothered in pesto and sprinkled with sun-dried tomatoes. Over and over again I had to answer the question, “What’s that green stuff?”

  2. Kathe Kozlowski

    There was an old joke when I first married that if my can opener ever died, Frank would starve. As a self defense, I taught myself to cook. And when it didn;t turn out as the picture, I would prop the book open tot he page, point and explain, “This is what you are eating” . Frank being the trooper that he is (being also equipped I think with the stomach of a goat) said it was great, or something to that effect. I will attribute the gagging sound to him trying to speak with food in his mouth…

    Now, many moons later, I hide the book and pictures, make up something creative in the way of story telling, ensure that all the ingrediants are as fresh and pollution free as I can find them, and pass the wine. When in doubt, I “likker up” the guests and they don’t seem to remember what was on their plate, let alone what they swallowed!

    Eating , like life , is an adventure, to be savored, not rushed through like a drive thru. The Italians, and the Greeks and French know how to enjoy their meals, even if all it consists of is a simple bowl of soup. It is the meaning of the meal, the commraderie, that makes eating such a joy.


  3. Your mom made us some awesome chicken dipped in bread crumps when we went to visit. It was yummy! This food talk is making me hungry!

  4. I make a mean pasta salad using those tri-color spiral noodles (fuselli I guess). But Sumaya makes an even better one using orzo pasta, so it’s been a long time since mine has been required.

  5. Sumaya’s orzo pasta salad is the bomb.

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