White pasta made with refined flour is not a food you want to eat several times a week. But it doesn’t have to be forbidden either. Here’s a little story I hope will help sort out your feelings regarding pasta, and how you want to incorporate it into your diet.
The orecchiette del sud (ear-shaped pasta with sundried tomatoes and broccoli) in the accompanying image, is one of my all-time favorite pastas. I ate this pasta for the first time when I was eight years old. The restaurant, half a block away from where I grew up, was my family’s home away from home and it was a neighborhood haunt, where anytime you’d go, you’d see familiar faces. We were ingratiated by the host, who knew us and our favorite table well, and the vibe was alway exciting.
I went to this restaurant last night with my father for the first time in a decade. Nothing has changed. It was packed. It exuded high energy. It was bursting at the seams with true New York City style. People meandered about from table to table with warm smiles saying hello to each other. The food, as always, was delectable. Though the rest of my family wasn’t there, my father and I caught up and bonded like old times. I’m no longer eight, and he’s no longer thirty-four. I am forty-six and he eighty, yet our meal was lovely and full of joy and sharing of knowledge. As we conversed and traded stories, I thought to myself, this is one to remember.
Food is so many things beyond just nourishment and flavor. For one. it’s memory. I’ll never give up pasta because I would never want to lose memories like the one above. I hope you don’t give up foods you love either, just because a fad diet, a magazine, or someone tells you to. If like white pasta they’re not the healthiest food to eat, okay, eat them occasionally, or choose a healthier version (e.g. whole grain and legume-based pasta). Rather than obsess over every detail of what you’re consuming, enjoy your life, diet, neighborhood, friends, family and the memories you are creating.