Spiritual Spaghetti

This morning I got an email from the Food Network letting me know it was National Spaghetti Day. I never realized how many foods have their own National Days and today is Spaghetti’s. While I enjoyed spaghetti more as a child, especially slurping it and having it slap your face and leaving it covered with sauce, it is no longer one of my favorite pastas. However, I can still whip together a few spaghetti dishes, which my friends and family enjoy. 

The thing about spaghetti I have found most interesting is that there is more to its history then I knew. When I think spaghetti, I think Italian and my guess is that most people do. However, it seems that the development of pasta, spaghetti in particular, has its roots in China and Arabic cooking. Maybe that is why I enjoy lo mein so much. It reminds me of eating spaghetti, but without the sauce, which I never liked growing up, and with the vegetables and seafood, which I enjoy. Or why some of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes use some sort of pasta as a main ingredient, like lentils and pasta or a myriad of kugels. While we may associate spaghetti with Italian cuisine today, it has its roots in earlier civilizations and times.

One of the things I like about spaghetti is what its appearance on the plate teaches me about life. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, nothing is laid out in a clear distinct linear pattern. Rather, the noodles are interwoven, interacting with each other, and overlapping each other. The movement of one noodle affects the position of others. This plate of noodles reminds me so much of life. We are all like noodles, interwoven and intermingling on a plate. We may not always even realize we are somehow connected until a certain string of spaghetti is moved and we discover something shifting in our own lives.

The other thing I have noticed about spaghetti is like humanity. Although there are aspects of spaghetti which are consistent across types, there is something unique and different about each plate. When you look beyond the surface shape of the spaghetti, you begin to see the unique and different personalities spaghetti has. The fluid you cook the pasta in affects its taste, how long you cook it affects its texture, as well as the products with which it was made. We have pasta made with semolina flour, those made with whole wheat, those with low carb products, and those made with vegetables and other products such as squid ink. Each giving a slightly different spin on the same thing – spaghetti.

This does not mean that one is better or worse then others, although some would disagree. Rather each strand of spaghetti brings something important to the plate regardless of what it is sauced in, what cheeses it is interacting with, or how it was prepared.

It is like us as human beings – interacting, evolving, unique, and precious just as we are. We are each needed on the plate of life. One strand of spaghetti cannot fill a person’s need. However, when all the strands come together, working towards a common goal, we can change the world, one strand of spaghetti at a time.

Perhaps tonight, I need to remember this day by making a plate of spaghetti and meatballs and remembering how important each of us in this world. Buon appetito1