I wrote this after cooking up some pasta carbonara from a recipe I saw online. Lately, I’ve been really interested in cooking. In high school, I thought I would be a chef one day, and I was even more passionate about cooking, but my priorities changed after I fell in love with writing. I never stopped loving cooking, though. And after looking up easy recipes on Youtube, I gave this one a shot and I instantly fell in love. Here, I’m combining both worlds.
I had a cold and comfort food was what I needed. I walked upstairs starving, thinking a warm meal would be waiting for me. Maybe my parents forgot to call me up. It seemed ridiculous, but I never know with them. They’d been noticeably forgetful in all aspects of life. They never remembered my name, often mixing me up with my two very different brothers. Being the first-born came with no advantages in my family. I was the forgotten middle child.
Pasta Carbonara had been been on my mind for quite some time. I made it once before and it came out exceptional so I had to see if I could repeat my initial success. it was so creamy the first time. It was also something my father never made; part of me wanted to make it so I would finally stand out, so he could be proud and one day make it for dinner too. when I took out the eggs and cheese from the fridge, I felt excited and focused. Cooking was my meditation. I loved following recipes all the way through. When I was little, I would sit in front of the oven door while my dad cleaned up from prepping dinner and watch the chicken, roast beef, or pork slowly roast and turn into the best food I ever ate, every time. I’m going to take a picture when the dish is complete to show my father.
When the spaghetti was almost done, I placed the noodles into the bacon grease and smiled at the sound of the dish coming together, the pasta frying for only a couple seconds. This last part required special attention. Messing it up would mean starting completely from scratch, and that was not an option considering it was already 7:30 pm and my brother was getting ready for bed and the last thing my parents needed was for me to be making tons of noise in the kitchen. And I was hungry. I needed to place the eggs into the pan without scrambling them. Making the sauce was a delicate balancing act. I needed each component to come together, dance with each other in my mouth when I took that first bite.
It finally clicked when I flipped the noodles, bacon, egg yolks, and cheese over and over again. Watching the sauce coat the noodles reminded me of my father tucking me in at night, making me feel one with the covers. Comfort food was comfort food not just because it reminded you of the past or made you feel good inside. Comfort food makes you feel as if you are connected with everything around you. I was creating a little universe in the frying pan. The process was just as important as the first bite. When the cheese and eggs combined with the pasta water, I quickly poured the noodles into my bowl, completely disregarding presentation.
Everything was perfect. The bacon and cheese provided the salt, the eggs made cream unnecessary, and the coarsely ground black pepper gave it just the right amount of kick. I went to go find my dad and ask him to try it. He asked if it was a carbonara. I said it was. He said he would love to try it, and he was sure it came out perfect, but he didn’t want to catch my cold, and then give it to my brother.