Kitchen “Fun”: How to Make Pasta, Post-Op

Since I am unable to cook much since having my paw cut open, it’s been a lot of pre-packaged and finger food in the dollhouse on the days when The Electrician isn’t around to feed me. Today, I decided that was was going to make a little pot of pasta for lunch. I took a little trip to the Italian market near my house yesterday, so I figured I’d just boil up a little bit of the fabulous pasta I bought. I picked up a package of pappardelle, which are super, super broad fettuccine; they end up being about 1.25 inches across when cooked, and they’re incredibly thin and smooth, like long egg noodles, if you know which brand to buy.

You’re Gonna Need:

pappardelle or other broad noodles

jarred pasta sauce


butter or margarine

Fill a saucepan with only as much water as you can lift with your sad left hand at this point. Remind yourself that you’re not allowed to lift anything heavier than a magazine, so keep the right hand out of the way. Set the filled pot on the stove and turn the heat on to get the water rocking.

Reach carefully into the cupboard above the stove and grab the sea salt grinder. Realize that you cannot possibly operate said grinder with one hand, and after attempting to operate your salt grinder with one hand and your jawbone, go on to plan B: box o’ table salt.

Spill the table salt because you wrenched the stupid little metal salt chute off in the days of two hands, so now you have a cardboard box of salt with an uncloseable hole in the side. Attempt to toss a little salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck from the spilled salt. Realize bad luck has already found you when your awkward left hand tosses salt directly into your right eye. Manage to add some table salt to the water.

Wait for the water to come up to a serious boil, and give the kitty some tap water because he’s not getting any more food, his opinions notwithstanding. After the water is boiling hard, drop in the noodles in their little nests carefully. Start getting excited because you’re going to have a meal made all on your own. In the interest of balance, eat an apricot and nuke a chicken weiner.

Stir the noodles every few minutes to keep them from sticking. When the pasta is approaching the finish line, find the half jar of red Classico sauce in the fridge (roasted onion and garlic, mmmmm) and set it on the counter. Realize then that you have no idea how you are going to open the jar. Start to formulate a plan. Humming the Mission Impossible theme might help.

I hummed the Pink Panther theme, which did little to bolster my confidence.

Wedge the jar, lid side up, against your body with your right elbow, and attempt to twist the lid off with your left paw. Fail miserably due to lack of friction between the glass jar and your shirt. Decide to solve the friction issue by rolling your top up so the jar is wedged between your right elbow and your bare ribcage. Shudder because you had no idea how freaking cold the jar would be and drop it on your right pinkie toe.

Feel torn between gratitude that the jar did not break and sorrow that the glass remains intact, because your noodles are done and at least you could have scraped some sauce off the floor if the jar had broken. Drain the noodles before they become a unintelligible mass of starch. Mmmm. Starch. Add a little butter to the noodles to make them stay separate until you achieve victory over the jar.

Decide to use Momma’s trick of the damp cloth. Realize after three failed attempts to open the jar using the facecloth from the counter, your bare ribcage, elbow, and prayer, that the facecloth smells like evil. Rinse the lid of the jar under running water before trying again.

Try to open the jar by squeezing it between your thighs, and realize quickly that there is no hope, because your yoga capris are slippery and there is no way in heck you’re taking your pants off to make lunch. Sit on the floor instead, and attempt to hold the jar with your feet. Discover without a doubt that your fridge is more than cold enough when you cannot stand holding the ice-cold glass between your arches. Try to get up to try something else, and bonk your shoulder on the stupid cupboard handle. Blurt bad words. Make sure they are loud, creative, and multisyllabic (bonus points for a rhyme scheme).

Later on, you will find a tender bruise on that shoulder, and it will inspire you to share the making of this meal with the internet.

Run the lid of the jar under really hot water, trying to avoid burns and dropping that stupid jar again. Fail again at the elbow-ribcage-prayer technique, but remember to try the washcloth again, forgetting that it smells like evil. Decide evil smells are part of your life with Sherman and move on.

Check in the cupboard for a new jar, and decide that the one that’s in there is probably more tightly closed than the half jar from the fridge. Ask yourself why your sweetie has to crank all the lids so tightly, consider sending him a brisk text regarding the issue, but decline to bother him at work because you lack the strength and ingenuity to make your own lunch.

Realize your noodles are barely warm and have stuck together in spite of your attempts to grease them up. Get a little weepy (how ridiculous) for a moment. Pick up the chicken wiener you microwaved and take a big bite. Imagine yourself as your favorite dinosaur and really take a chomp of that sucker. At this point, you need to be fortified by whatever sustenance you can actually ingest successfully. Roar aloud to re-establish your dominance over inanimate objects and kitchen tools.

Reinvigorated by one bite of chicken wiener, and one failure away from losing your mind, grab your largest butcher knife from the drawer and prepare to beat some sense into the Classico jar. Pause briefly to consider the way this is going so far: envision a messy home amputation, and swap the heavy duty model out for a butter knife. Thwack the lid really hard but with poor aim, since you’re using the non-dominant hand. Enjoy the soothing violence of it.

Carefully sit on the floor again, forgetting that you shouldn’t put your stitched together paw down to lean on as you lower your body. Make that sound Wile E. Coyote makes when he realizes the cliff has crumbled beneath him and he plummets toward the far-off creek bed at the bottom of the canyon.

Attempt the foot hold twist again. Stare in disbelief when the lid rotates and comes away from the jar. You might be so busy singing a victory song that you won’t realize there is tomato sauce on your right ankle. Don’t worry: the cat will help you by licking it off and scaring you half to death. For some reason, my victory song was Gordon Lightfoot. I am short on badassitude right now.

Pour some delicious roasted onion and garlic sauce over your pappardelle noodles, which are now a soild mass. Scrape them off the bottom of the pot with your wooden spoon and somehow wrangle them into the bowl. Microwave for about 90 seconds.

Carry your pasta and what’s left of the hotdog into the livingroom. Watch a M*A*S*H* rerun and work on dexterity as you remember how challenging it is to wind noodles the width of masking tape around a fork, let alone doing so with your stupid left hand.

Decide to just open a can of Chef Boyardee for lunch tomorrow, if you can figure out how.

copyright 2011:

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