1538 Stirring Occasionally
It’s on every box of dry pasta, no matter the brand, country of origin, shape or ingredients.
Boil the water. Put in the pasta. Cook for X minutes (al dente) or longer (not al dente,) stirring occasionally.
What is occasionally?
It’s not like they mean keep it boiling until, say, Lincoln’s birthday. Or Christmas. Or the wedding reception for your cousin Daisy with that guy Henry. (Or in certain locales your cousin Daisy with your cousin Henry.)
So they probably don’t mean a special occasion. Maybe they mean a “normal” occasion. Like Tuesday. Or an un-special occasion. Like when you ran that red light last month and got caught and ticketed.
In the case of pasta, some people think every minute is an occasion. So they stir every minute the pot is on the stove.
Others think stirring occasionally is when it’s about half done cooking.
Don’t you wish they’d be more specific?
“Stir once every three minutes, give or take” or anything like it would be a welcome change in the directions. If you can actually find the directions in fine print buried among yummy recipes for things you’re never going to cook and a history of the manufacturer which started in a little storefront in Punto Orgolioso, Italy or some other town you never heard of.
The pasta in this house generally comes from Harrisburg, PA. That’s because the company that bought the company that bought the company that bought the Ronzoni factory in Queens moved it to Harrisburg. Without changing the wheat. But not without changing the water.
So the little storefront over in Punto Orgolioso doesn’t mean a whole lot. We’re not gourmets. And we’re not historians, particularly ethnic food historians.
Sometimes we slip in a box of the supermarket store brand along with the Ronzoni. Who’s going to find out or taste the difference?
And note that not all one pound boxes of pasta still contain a full pound. The new standard is 13-point-something ounces and shrinking. But I digress.
When income is good some months, and we’re feeling flush, we do switch from Ronzoni and the occasionally stirring inferior “house brand” to Barrilla. But that’s only occasionally.
Like for Lincoln’s birthday. Or the cousins’ marriage.
--Congrats to the National Football League. September, 2015 marked the first month since 2009 that no active NFL player was arrested for anything. Now THAT’s an… occasion!
--People who investigate shipwrecks are still wondering what happened to the freighter lost at sea during hurricane Joaquin. It was a ship caught in a category four hurricane. Ya think that might have had something to do with it?
--Fifty-seven degrees of separation? Cosby has been given that many honorary degrees. Now the colleges who were so free with their sheepskins are debating whether to rescind them.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015