Learn to be considerate and forgiving with Italian nonnas and Stanley Tucci – Entertainment News, Firstpost

My foray into Italian cooking bears some resemblance – at least visually – to the kind of pasta I saw on TV as a kid, when I spent hours watching cooking and travel shows with my mom. .

“Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell.” Ratatouille catches us. In this “Food for Film” series, we select food movies/shows that make our mouths water and our souls richer.

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The pasta of my adolescence had an unforgettable taste: it was sticky, soft and consistent. It was the kind of pasta you eat at a street stall or a college canteen, the kind that was enlivened by heaping amounts of oregano and chili flakes. The red sauce has been ketchup, in glorified form, and Red white sauce was often borderline sweet. Don’t get me wrong, we ate it all with relish, because it had that umami element that makes street food delicious.

Pasta from my 20s – which I cook myself – reflects my own life in some ways. It features a lot less drama and has a much more defined flavor. I know what a sofrite is now, and have gone from using only penne to preferring fettuccine and linguine. I used to let the pasta water down the drain; now I know that its starchy saltiness is ideal for thickening a sauce.

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My foray into Italian cooking bears some resemblance – at least visually – to the kind of pasta I saw on TV as a kid, when I spent hours watching cooking and travel shows with my mom. . I understand why Anthony Bourdain liked cacio and pepe, a sophisticated Roman mac and cheese for which he said he giving up vital life experiences. I haven’t been able to do it perfectly yet, but the magic of freshly ground pepper and strong cheese shines through even in my own amateur attempts.

Watch Samin Nosrat learn how to make pesto in Acid Fatty Salt Heat – crushed with a mortar and pestle, as is the traditional way – inspired me to make my own. Samin’s encouragement to experiment, some ingenuity, and a writer’s salary made me realize that pine nuts could be replaced with cashews.

For me, that’s the essence of living into your twenties – a desire to have a better, freer life, and some indulgence with limited means. The key word here is indulgence.

Pasta Experiments Learning to Be Mindful and Indulgent with Italian Nonnas and Stanley Tucci

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Burnout, increasingly demanding careers and a dire job market have left many of us running out of steam. And burnout, combined with the financial stress of the pandemic, is a dangerous cocktail. So how do we get out of this Mobius strip of declining sanity?

you buy yourself a little pleasure – an act that seems to save lives. You drink gallons of coffee even though your organs beg you consume the minimum amount of water necessary for its operation. And if you’re like me, you make yourself a pot of pasta at 11:47 p.m.

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I don’t know when I fell in love with the idea of ​​cooking pasta, but a scene from Jon Favreau Chief or he whips aglio e olio certainly had a role to play. It looked greasy, satisfying, and deceptively simple – which is reason enough to try a recipe. After some experimentation, I learned that the only misleading thing was how quickly he cooked it for an excited Scarlet Johannsson, because no can of spaghetti I’ve used boils that quickly.

This is perhaps one of its virtues. If you work 10-12 hours a day, your eyes are likely to oscillate between the big screen you’re working on and the small screen that’s inextricably linked to your body. It’s easy to lose control of time (and delay a meal). Boiling a pot of spaghetti until al dente and slowly frying the garlic until golden and crispy is a way to steal 30 minutes from a day’s work – if you speed up either process, you’ll end up with hard carbs and burnt garlic. Pasta requires some attention.

It also requires a natural curiosity and admiration for the ingredients and the process. In In search of Italy, Stanley Tucci embodies this notion with his reactions to food, whether he’s in Naples eating freshly picked San Marzano tomatoes from a field or kissing the Roman chefs who made him a plate of carbonara. Tucci doesn’t hold back, so much so that one writer called his sighs and moans ‘Tuccissimo.’ Contrary to the kitsch imagination of Eat Pray Love, In search of Italy is just shot after shot of the actor enjoying the food he seeks, and being respectful of the work involved and the story of his origins.

Pasta Experiments Learning to Be Mindful and Indulgent with Italian Nonnas and Stanley Tucci

Excerpt from Searching For Italy by Stanley Tucci

I indulged in my own Tuccissimo: After days of eating khichdi and bought in store paranthas, biting into a piece of soft, lush bocconcini cheese is luxurious. On particularly busy weekdays, when the most elaborate meal I can prepare is buttered toast, I wish I had bottled my favorite red sauce – olive oil roasted cherry tomatoes with garlic and basil – to eat and smell. I reserve strictly mediocre wine leftovers as they prove to be much more useful when I use them to deglaze a sauce, giving a fruity edge to proteins and fats.

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Writers seem to have a particular fascination with pasta. In his little story The year of spaghetti, Haruki Murakami’s narrator says cooking this dish was his pride, joy, and great hope in life – and ultimately, a metaphor for his loneliness. The story features intense self-monologues, but the descriptions of the food are exquisite. “Fine particles of garlic, onion and olive oil swirled in the air, forming a harmonious cloud that penetrated every corner of my small apartment… It was a fragrance that one could have smelled on the ancient Roman aqueducts.

In an essay on how she locked herself in Airbnbs and cooked herself books of pasta so she could work on her book, Jia Tolentino compares the two activities, evaluating pasta rather than writing: “Every time I m sit down to write something, I understand the likely outcome is that it’s going to be horrible. Conversely, after making pasta once, you will likely improve. Unlike writing, the pasta will only be more precisely as you intended it to be.

Pasta can serve as an anchor in the lives of fictional and non-fictional people because of the rhythms and repeated work it commands.

There is no more convincing evidence for this than the Pasta Grannies YouTube channel, where the Italian nonnas over 80 years old shape and cook different types of pasta as they have done for decades. Their fingers pull eggs, flour and water together with the ease of a sculptor to create the most elegant shapes and forms – they rely solely on instinct and muscle memory.

Pasta Experiments Learning to Be Mindful and Indulgent with Italian Nonnas and Stanley Tucci

Still from Pasta Nannies

The rhythms and repeated recipes are invaluable even for an amateur cook like me. It’s possible to leave the unpredictability of things like unanswered pitches and delayed bills behind by walking into the kitchen, knowing how much salt to pour into boiling water and how much bacon to keep for defrosting.

Learn more about the series here.

Pasta Experiments Learning to Be Mindful and Indulgent with Italian Nonnas and Stanley Tucci

Artwork by Poorti Purohit

Neerja Deodhar is a Mumbai-based writer and researcher. She tweets at @neerjadeodhar.

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