Food + Drink

Emergency Pasta

It’s 11:00 at night and I suddenly remember that I’m supposed to bring in a pound of cooked pasta for my daughter Maxine’s 1st grade class pre-Thanksgiving party. They are going to make pasta salad and several parents are to bring in each element (red bell peppers, onions, chicken, tomato, black olives, salad dressing, etc.). I look in my kitchen cabinet in desperation and quickly discover that the box of linguine I have is not going to cut it as tri-color rotini.

I pass a mostly sleepless night, trying to figure out a way to get cooked tri-color rotini pasta to the class by 11:00am. And it’s my turn to carpool the kids to school. How on earth can I get the kids to school—pick up a box of pasta at the grocery store—drive home—cook it—and drive back to the school before 11:00am? (and I forgot to mention, I’m running out of gas, so I’d need to fill up somewhere along the way).

By 7:00am, I’ve devised a tenuous plan. I drive the kids to school, pick up some pasta at the market near my office, and head to work. I’m going to use the office microwave to cook the pasta. I’m not much of a microwave user. Sure, I’ve reheated in a microwave, but I never cook “real” food with one. Will the water get hot enough? Will the plastic container melt? How long should I cook it? I don’t have a clue.

At 9:20, I frantically press buttons to start the oven. The bowl of water is so big that after 10 minutes the water is still not boiling. Impatient co-workers are giving me meaningful looks as they wait with their bowls of uncooked oatmeal. I throw the pasta in anyway, set it for 10 more minutes, and head to a meeting. 40 minutes later, I run to check the pasta, which has now been sitting in the oven for longer than I want to think about. Eureka! The pasta is cooked perfectly (well, good enough for 1st grader tastes anyway).

I get back to the school just as the 11:00am bell rings. Crisis averted! Teacher happy. Children happy.

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Amy Treadwell

Amy Treadwell

Amy Treadwell is an editor of food and lifestyle books and a lifelong home baker. She loves cookies and the holiday season in equal measure.
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