March 20, 2020 ☼ foodbooks

The Year of Spaghetti

Spaghetti 1

By way of emphasising the comforts of familiarity, a noncomprehensive list of quotes about making spaghetti taken from various books by Haruki Murakami, a writer who likes nothing more than than to write the same thing over and over.

I cooked spaghetti to live and lived to cook spaghetti. Steam rising from the aluminium pot was my pride and joy, tomato sauce bubbling up in the saucepan my one great hope in life.” - from The Year Of Spaghetti”, in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

As a rule I cooked spaghetti, and ate it, alone. I was convinced that spaghetti was a dish best enjoyed alone.” - from The Year Of Spaghetti”, in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing.” - - from The Year Of Spaghetti”, in *Blind Willow, Sleeping

Every time I sat down to a plate of spaghetti (especially on a rainy afternoon) I had the distinct feeling that somebody was about to knock on my door.” - from The Year Of Spaghetti”, in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

At the time we were talking about spaghetti. She was telling me that that I had a narrow view of spaghetti. This was not all she had in mind, of course. Her fiancé was lurking somewhere beyond the spaghetti, and she was really talking about him [..] The problem started with the spaghetti itself, which was a disaster. The surface of the pasta had an unpleasant, floury texture. The center was hard and uncooked. Even a dog would have turned its nose up to the butter they had used. I couldn’t eat more than half of what was on my plate, and I asked the waitress to take the rest away. My sister glanced at me once or twice but didn’t say anything at first. Instead, she took her time, eating everything they had served her, down to the last thread. I sat there, looking out the window and drinking another beer.” - from Family Affair” in The Elephant Vanishes

A book is good for killing time when you’re cooking spaghetti. Takes only one hand, get it?” Uh-huh.” - Wind/Pinball

Before I was married, I cooked spaghetti just for myself. It’s a very lonely task, to cook spaghetti for yourself. So I think it’s kind of natural that you think about loneliness when you cook spaghetti for yourself. You know, when you’re making a sandwich for yourself you don’t think about loneliness so much. But when you cook spaghetti, it’s different.”” - Wind/Pinball

When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.” - ― The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I decided to make spaghetti for lunch again. Not that I was the least bit hungry. But I couldn’t just go on sitting on the sofa, waiting for the phone to ring. I had to move my body, to begin working toward some goal. I put water in a pot, turned on the gas, and until it boiled I would make tomato sauce while listening to an FM broadcast. The radio was playing an unaccompanied violin sonata by Bach. The performance itself was excellent, but there was something annoying about it. I didn’t know whether this was the fault of the violinist or of my own present state of mind, but I turned off the music and went on cooking in silence. I heated the olive oil, put garlic in the pan, and added minced onions. When these began to brown, I added the tomatoes that I had chopped and strained. It was good to be cutting things and frying things like this. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I could feel in my hands. I liked the sounds and the smells.” ― The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I munched on the celery and thought about what to have for dinner. Spaghetti. First slice two cloves of garlic and brown in olive oil. Tilt the frying pan on its side just so, to pool the oil, and cook over a low flame. Toss in dried red peppers, fry together but remove before oil gets too spicy. Touch-and-go. Then cut thin slices of ham into strips and sauté until crisp. Last, add to al dente spaghetti, toss, sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with salad of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Okay, let’s do it.” - Dance Dance Dance

When it went down, we returned to our rooms, showered, ate some spaghetti and salad, then we went to see a Spielberg movie.” - Dance Dance Dance

Matt Turner