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Dos Factotum » Archive » The Luncher #1: Fusilli Pasta

The Luncher #1: Fusilli Pasta

January 14th, 2008

A segment in which marginally experienced webeditor and novice blogger Ryan Grim describes his lunch, briefly at first and then in ridiculous detail.

The Skinny: Fusilli pasta with green pepper and tomato and basil sauce

The Fatty: A few days earlier I’d tried to make a variation of this meal for dinner, but it ended in disaster. Maybe not disaster. More like dissatisfaction. But at my age, Christ, I can hardly tell the difference.

The whole mess began with one of those quick grocery store trips in which you only buy what you want to eat for your next meal. In my case it was fusilli pasta, two bell peppers (one green, one red), Arnold’s brand smoked beef sausages (housed in both a vacuum-sealed package and a cardboard box) and generic brand vanilla ice cream bars. Properly prepared, you’d assume these items would produce a satisfying, if generic, Thursday evening meal.

I fried the pre-cooked sausages with the entire red pepper, sliced. Even without oil (we’d just ran out) or butter (I’d bought the Land O Lakes upon moving in on Sept. 7 or so and no longer trusted it) they both seemed to be doing fine.

Once the pre-cooked sausages were throughly browned and the peppers softened, I did what I should’ve done minutes ago: dump the fusilli into the boiling water. The water had been ready since I began chopping the peppers; I just forgot about it.

Frantically, and with no regard to how much pasta one man could eat, I dumped most of the one-pound bag into the water. Then I waited for ten minutes or so, half-assedly stirring the peppers and sausages in the pan to avoid unwanted blackening.

Even with my seven or so years of pasta-making experience I still didn’t wait for the spiral noodles to cool before tasting them, burning my fingers and causing me to yell “ass!” into the empty apartment.

The fusilli was done. After a strain and a shake over the sink, I dumped it back into the pot, along with the contents of the frying pan. Most of the sausage slices had been nicely browned, a few were too black and a few were pinkish—an almost perfect bell curve.

Then came the Francesco Rinaldi brand tomato and basil sauce, which I think along with the butter had also been in the fridge since move-in day. Or, like the Di Milano brand vodka sauce, it had come from the fridge in McShane’s old apartment, giving it a possible purchase date of, say, July 2007. (There was even a small chance I was cooking with sauce that had once belonged to a man who rang in the New Year being attacked by overly defensive birds in Uruguay.)

But no matter. It smelled fine—well, the rim of the jar not so much, but whatevs—so I mixed it in and topped the pile off with a liberal sprinkling of Kraft Parmesan cheese.

Sound good? Indeed, in a perfect world, it would be good. In a world that didn’t allow people to take tendons and veiny bits from cows’ smellier parts, grind it up with salt and water, add brown dye for color, let it sit in a sauna for a day and then sell it as smoked beef sausage, this meal would get a B+ on a scale of F- to A+. But we don’t live in such a world.

Needless to say, the sausage was kinda gross. Maybe not as bad as I’ve made it seem, but it still ruined a perfectly good dinner.

Well, it didn’t really ruin it. Just made it less enjoyable. Its juices affected the entire dish, so even the ripe and expertly cooked peppers tasted like $3.99-for-twelve-links-quality sausage.

Did I eat the whole thing? Of course. But only to punish myself. (Us Catholics have our ways.)

So, back to the matter at hand: today’s lunch. Having woken up late this morning, I chose to work from the safety of my own home. The bulk of my work-ready clothes were at the laundry anyway, as if I needed more convincing.

Around 2 p.m. I decided it was feeding time. With a debit card/checking account fraud fiasco currently rocking my world (in a bad way), along with the fact that I didn’t want to de-robe, put on outside clothes and walk to Wamu to get cash, I determined I’d be better off foraging for food in the apartment than buying some elsewhere.

Now know this: other than the shopping trip described above, I hadn’t gone shopping since I bought liquor for a party on Dec. 21. My only real food here was the fusilli, the ice cream bars, the green pepper and assorted jars of Italian sauce, or gravy, as I sometimes call it.

Oh, and the sausage.

So I resigned myself to making the exact same meal, except this time with green pepper and no sausage.

Grade: Like I’d predicted, B+.

That’s what I ate for lunch today. I also had an ice cream bar and some water.

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