I was chopping garlic, getting ready to prepare dinner when a waft of pungent flavor hit my nostrils. I stood still looking at tiny bits of a white minced bulb wrapped in it’s own paper. Garlic is packed with nutrients. It is the genie’s bottle. I always use garlic but I didn’t always think about it. I found out if you leave it on your chopping board for ten, fifteen minutes you get the best buck for your dollar. The garlic was just sitting there creating more nutrients. I wish that was true of time.

I loved the dear garlic bulb even more, which made me think of my tomatoes sitting on the counter waiting for their turn to create. Picked out of the garden, warm with sun, red skin ready to burst and the smell that brings people to a halt. I found out from an old Italian cookbook that Grandmothers always slip the skin of a tomato off after a few minute’s in hot water. They also don’t eat the seeds. I guess it’s not good for digestion. I’m trying to make a habit of that.

When the tomato’s were ready, I drizzle a bit of olive oil in a hot pan and loaded them in. I love to stir.  I have an old wooden spoon that I’ve had for twenty years. I stir slowly letting the real magician do the work, which is the food.

Once the juices were spilled and the tomato’s deflated I sprinkled the garlic in, which was another explosion of fragrance. I salt and pepper, add a teaspoon of sugar {organic, of course} and start to slow myself even more. I chop a half of cayenne pepper and use the half of the half-just in case it’s a three alarm fire. I wash my hands with cold water and scold myself into not rubbing my eyes for any reason.

I step to the window. The evening is weakening, the moon on the rise. I turn back to my counter where the basil lies. As soon as I touch it, it emits the smell that hits between the eyes. I feel it on my forehead as well. The green of the basil is something I would like to wear, but for now I’ll chop it tenderly.

I have a rich Parmesan I grated, yellow and glossy. I turn off the heat, spoon a taste and smile. I can’t help it. The noodles are cooked perfectly.

I learned to make perfect noodles without guessing. This is how I do it. Run cold water in a pot .{This will work in almost anyone’s pot} salt the water, a little pot, a teaspoon, A big pot a tablespoon, either way, stir and taste the water, too little, adjust, too much, dump some water out and fill again. Bring the water to a boil, gently put the noodles in, turn down the heat a bit, let them cook. Time wise, it usually takes 15 to 20 minutes if you’re using spaghetti. Ten minutes in, stick close to your pot. When the noodles are softening, lift one out and bite it. If there is a crunch in the noodle leave it cooking. When the noodle has just a touch of undoneness in the middle, {I can’t say it any other way}  pull out a cup of pasta water, dump the rest in a colander, shake it out and return it to the pot. Stir some of the pasta water back into the noodles. They will become glossy. Toss the cheese {The Grandmother’s do that} pour in the tomato sauce, toss, add the basil and a bit more cheese.

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