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.