As many of you have clicked on my page over the years to see what sort of crazy food adventure I’m up to whether that be eating blazing hot chicken wings that were equal to law grade pepper spray or the aptly named “penis fish” in Busan’s Jagalchi Fish Market. However, a recent conversation with friends about culinary preferences brought up something about myself that really struck a chord with both of my interlocutors in terms of its uniqueness, and they said I should share it with the world. Therefore, I’m writing this short post to reveal this secret. So here it goes.
I don’t like pasta.
(Pause for dramatic effect)
You read that correctly. I don’t like the seemingly universally loved food. The typical scenario that plays out is I’m at some function where they think they ordered something everyone would enjoy, i.e. pasta, but they didn’t plan for someone like me. Once faced with my plate of unappetizing food, I take a couple show bites, but then quietly try to look around for other food like some crafty racoon while everyone is tucking into their meal. Then someone notices my reticence, and the questions begin:
That guy with the face: “So, are you not hungry?”
Me: “No, I’m quite hungry.”
That guy with the face: “Then why haven’t you eaten anything?”
Me: “Because I don’t like pasta.”
Cue a reaction that has ranged anywhere from a shrug of the shoulders to, more often that not, jaw-dropping incredulousness. I guess I know how vegetarians feel now, but I have, on occasion, eaten pasta just for appearances when at someone’s house for dinner and/or a party. My mom thinks my dislike stems from some deep-seated, psychological fear from when I tried pasta when I was quite young and semi-choked on it. I disagree with this psychoanalysis hypothesis. I just don’t really care for the texture of the pasta/combination of the ingredients. Italian noodles are rubbery, and the sauces/fillings are often too rich/overbearing. Of course, everyone and their mother has their own way of preparing it as I witnessed first hand while traveling through Italy. Even when I was in the heart of the motherland of pasta, I didn’t really care for it. When it came to the rest of the food there, however, I was a regular gavone who enjoyed every bit of the local cuisine.
One of my most disliked forms of pasta is macaroni and cheese. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you must think I’m officially some sort of weirdo. I assure you it’s further from the truth. It’s even worse with Kraft Easy Mac when it’s basically powdered Kraft American “cheese flavored product” (look on your box of Kraft singles slices. It’s not called American cheese; it’s “cheese flavored product”) on anaemic-looking factory noodles. Yum. Either way, homemade or from a box, it’s too bad one has to ruin perfectly good cheese by adding pasta to it.
Before you bring out the pitchforks and torches to run me out of town like Frankenstein’s Monster, let me add a caveat to my culinary distaste for the starchy staple. While I don’t like pasta, I do enjoy many of the noodle recipes featured in Far East Asian cuisine. Now you might be thinking, “Wtf? They’re the same thing?” No, they’re not. Italian pasta is typically made with semolina flour which leads to a sturdier texture that can also hold on to a lot of sauce. Asian noodles, on the other hand, are most often made from rice starch which leads to a silkier/lighter texture that lets the sauce flavor the noodles but not cling to the surface. Plus, I generally prefer the spicier and bolder flavors of Asian noodles like Pho or Pad Thai or even spicy Korean 라면 (Ramen noodles) compared to the more pedestrian options of pasta. Yes, I know there are a wide range of possibilities like squid ink pasta, but most of the time it’s simply the same type of Durum wheat-based noodle with either meat, vegetables, and/or a dairy-based sauce on top. Sound a lot like pizza, right? A lot of people ask me if I like pizza, and I do love pizza. I just don’t think you can equate the two like apples to apples though.
Well, I said my piece, so let me know what you think. Is there someone else out there who’s as odd as me not liking a common food, or is it just one of my many quirks that really sets me apart from everyone else?
P.S. Pastafarians, you’re alright in my book.