Qui e Qui e Qui e Qui
Do you remember eating Eggos as a child and how it was of the utmost importance that each tiny square received syrup? I remember being quite certain that the world would end if even the triangular parts around the edge were left out. My sisters were the same – they would tip poor Mrs. Buttersworth upside down and sway her back & forth for what seemed like an eternity, all in the name of total sugar saturation. The fact that the syrup ran onto the plate once the waffle was cut didn’t ever enter into the logic.
Today, during lunch, I found the equivalent for Italian children: grated parmesan on pasta.
Let me interject with a brief statement that up until now, I have feared cooking for these kids. Vera (9) has already lectured me on the proper way to make espresso (so as not to give it a burnt flavor), as well as the appropriate order to eat your courses (pasta always before salad and/or meat). Italian kids are raised in Italian kitchens on food cooked by Italian mammas and nonnas (grandmas). Combine that with the pickiness of children in general and o mio dio, you have one tough crowd. My first attempt was something simple: Rotini pasta in a tomato sauce with onion, garlic, and zucchini.
I observed the Italian equivalent of the Eggo-Syrup phenomenon when we all sat at the table. I started grating fresh parmesan for Anna (7), but I made the mistake of grating the cheese just over the center of the plate. She quickly informed me that I missed a spot and she would not eat a bite until there was cheese “Qui e Qui e Qui e Qui” – here and here and here and here. Every noodle had to have a morsel of cheese on it before it was ready for consumption. And just as I added the last bit of cheese to the last noodle, what did Anna do? Mix it all together, of course. So apparently the illogical obsession with the meticulous placement of a topping is a worldwide trend. Who knew?
I do have to brag a little bit. All parties were very satisfied with the pasta. Apparently I can cook for Italian children. Phew!