The Spaghetti Incident


Yes, I know I lifted my post title from a Guns ‘n’ Roses album. Sorry Axel. It’s been the kind of day that leaves me about as original as a blue stripe on a white sweat sock.

I got home from a school event after nine tonight, and I really needed some supper by the time I got here. I reheated some spaghetti with tomato sauce that has been lurking in the fridge for a couple days, tucked a fork into the noodles, and headed for the couch to put my aching feet up. Somehow, I caught the end of the fork handle with my sweater and catapulted the fork and a heap of saucy noodles all over the floor and my couch: my white couch.

In the big picture, really, this is a minor bump in a day that was pretty corrugated. It reminded me of another spaghetti incident, though, that will go down in the history books for me.

My momma makes a mean spaghetti sauce. In my family, spaghetti sauce means a rich, red tomato sauce with hamburger and onion, and it always means homemade. Growing up, we sometimes had beef-based sauce, but more often, Mom used the elk, deer, and moose that were more common in our deep freeze. Spaghetti and meat sauce is one of my favorite meals because of the way we ate it growing up.

Out of the hundreds of times I ate spaghetti as a kid, one stands out sharply in my mind. It was a leftover spaghetti lunch, which meant the sauce got even tastier overnight in the fridge and we’d spent the time since supper the night before anticipating another helping. I was also home from the “big city” that weekend and looking forward to eating a meal cooked in my mother’s kitchen.

My brother, who was about sixteen at the time, had a friend over. The kid who was visiting was his tallest, burliest buddy, and he typically ate more than our family of four combined. Momma, ever the gracious hostess, did the “say when” thing for my brother and his friend, scooping until they called a halt to the growing heaps of noodles on their plates. Imagine a big dinner plate, mounded with deliciousness to the point that barely a spot was left for Momma to put her little thumb to carry the plate to the counter, where the boys eagerly awaited their meals.

The next events unfolded in a slow-motion sequence worthy of full orchestra music. Momma turned to say something, holding the heavy plate, and the entire meal slid to the floor. I have no way to spell the sound a heaping plate of spaghetti and meat sauce makes when it hits the linoleum, but I’m pretty sure I’d need every letter on my keyboard to replicate it. It is a noise like no other.

Poor Momma had tomato sauce, noodles, and little bits of whitetail deer all over her floor, across the bottom two feet of her kitchen cabinets, and splattered on her shins and feet. Everybody in the room just stared at the debris. It was like something out of a sitcom, except there was no studio crew to clean up the incredible mess. To her credit, Momma didn’t swear (I would have). She just stood there with her mouth open for a long time, holding the empty plate; eventually, she said, “I have no idea how I did that.”

From time to time, we still laugh about it. I also think that was the time Mom decided we were old enough to dish up our own plates.

copyright 2011:  http://bluespeckledpup.com

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Erin says:

    Fraleigh family spaghetti-related story:

    Dad does the cooking in the house. He always lived by the rule “if a noodle sticks to the wall, it’s ready”. So one day he flings a lone, cooked spaghetti noodle at the wall in the kitchen and it sticks! He calls “dinner’s ready” and we all sit down to enjoy a delicious spaghetti meal with grandma’s homemade sauce. Yeah, we all forgot about the noodle stuck to the wall. Till the next day. At dinner time.
    Peeling the dried noodle off the wall resulted in a perfect wiggly spaghetti noodle outline of peeled-off paint. That noodle outline stayed on our kitchen wall for probably 7 or 8 years!

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