Thursday, September 30, 2004

Long Live Linguine

Pasta makes me happy. Looking around the dimunitive dining room at Stelline, I'm not alone. Sitting elbow to elbow, people break into smiles as bowls of spaghetti, gnocchi and rigatoni arrive. The kitchen sends a heaping plate of warm garlic-parmesan toasts while you skim the menu. It takes much restraint not to eat the whole thing, but if you do, the sympathetic servers deliver another plate of crusty goodness.

It's heartwarming to see people enjoying pasta without guilt. Certain diets have made it unfashionable to eat carbs, as if a steaming bowl of capellini al pomodoro can be reduced to vituperative shorthand for a macronutrient. I admit to a period of dabbling in which I chose osso bucco over orrechiette and ate scrambled eggs without toast.

I hope it never happens again.

Fortunately, I never succumbed to the madness that compels people to rid their pantry of rice and pasta. A world without pappardelle is too horrible to imagine, but so is gummy low-carb 'pasta'. My order of linguine gambero--real linguine tossed with shrimp, garlic, chili, butter, and white wine--is as rewarding and rich as I imagined. Give me the real thing in satisfying portions on occasion as well as a gym membership, and I'll never stray again.

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