My mother used to start making slow cooked ribs at about 6pm every Halloween. Other kids were dancing down the street at the crack of dusk and we were sitting at the table sweating under lion and hobo suits, waiting for the ribs to be done.
“Don’t worry Mom, we don’t need to eat.”
“Yes you do.”
“We don’t care if they’re cooked. We’ll just chew them really well. Please, Mom. We love chewy meat.”
The bell at this point was ringing like crazy with all kinds of goblins and grinning ghosts holding out their bags for candy, and us on the totally wrong side of the door dropping in baggies of homemade popcorn.
Eventually about an hour in my mother would throw up her hands and say “Go.”
And out we would run out into the wilds of Halloween night with nothing but a cracker and a heavy coat over our costume to ward off the danger of starving and freezing.
You would think I would have learned something about timing, but I haven’t. I could just as easily start dinner at noon as I could at 6, but I don’t. The fact that everybody is hungry and has suffered enough stress in the world of Ferdinand over homework and never getting enough computer time or money to buy a hard hat that can hold two cans of soda so you can drink them at the same time, bears no weight. Last night I started pasta fagioli at about quarter to seven. Ferd asked if he could just have plain pasta and a hotdog. I pushed on. The soffritto of garlic, onion, celery and carrots with a few fresh sage leaves and a parsley sprig takes at least a half hour, and after the small can of (hand) crushed plum tomatoes are added with the tiniest bit of balsamic if you are out of red wine, you need at least fifteen minutes to let it simmer. Then stock had to be added and brought to the boil before you can throw the (hand) broken pasta in. He ate it though, with a drizzle of olive oil, forgoing the shavings of Parmigaino, commenting that he preferred a sauce without tomato all together.
After dinner was done and I was lying down next to him waiting for sleep, he said, “Mom, have you ever felt misunderstood?

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