Last night I made an impromptu (and belated) birthday dinner for my oldest friend. Spaghetti cacio e pepe and my go-to pizza, of-late (potatoes, rapini, spicy sausage, onions, pine nuts, garlic, rosemary). Carb-loading and reminiscing go hand-in-hand, don't they?
When Sandi and I hang out these days (as is often the case with friendships struck-up during formative years) we immediately put on music from that era (last night: Fiona Apple) and sink, full-bore, into memory lane. It’s not a safe environment for our partners or people who weren’t there, peppered with laughing fits and much too specific to be comprehensible to them. It’s always best to batten the hatches and dive in, just us.
We met in 1995 when I was only 13 and she (a few critical months older) was a more-appropriate age for a first day of high school. We found ourselves next to each other in music class, both playing the saxophone. This was the start of several years in that classroom, a community so comfortable and familiar. Like a real-life Google Reader, we filtered-out the general population of our high school to include only the handful of people we could tolerate. In many ways, we started to etch out our "brand" before that wasn't even a thing. Our cliques, our style, the character we played publically were crystalizing there in front of us.
And on that, we got to talking about blogging.
A culture of egos and idols, any blogger worth their salt would admit to creating a persona and, also, getting caught up in those schilled at us daily. Checking-in with our virtual friends, inexplicably desperate to know what they did on the weekend, we trawl the internet for tidbits that inspire us or affirm our place in a community. Not unlike that high school music class, blogs allow us to narrow our focus to a slew of half-strangers who share our taste in food, music, lifestyle. Really, a good blog is like a transcribed reality show, our voyeuristic appetites satiated by photos of last night’s carefully choreographed dinner or a trip to Paris we may never take. Writers satisfy our need to devote ourselves and readers stroke our egos. It's a fairly simple transaction, no? The key is that we know there's some degree of controlled construction in every blog we read. At least every good one.
Our blogs are an outlet for those of us who always got off on entertaining people. Let's face it, we're the same people we were as 4 year olds, and when I was a toddler I'd clown and goof and dance to make people laugh. I'd show off how smart I was or how well I could line up my toys or colour within the lines. "Mom! Mom! Watch me, Mom! Mom!!"
And, so it goes, we blog
Spaghetti cacio e pepe
200 grams of spaghetti
100 grams (4 ounces) of pecorino romano
3 tablespoons of butter
Grate your cheese into a bowl. Cook your pasta. Moments before it's al dente, stir several tablespoons of cooking water into the grated cheese, creating a creamy paste. Strain your pasta (reserving a cup or so of the starchy water) and toss it into a warm sautée pan. Add the butter and melt it, coating the pasta. Stir in the cheese and incorporate, creating a sauce which coats evenly. Add a hearty whack of freshly-ground pepper. Serve immediately.