Laurie Notaro's Dish of Death

Categories: Candy Hearts

He broke up with me.

I tried to take it on the chin, but I sobbed to Stevie Nicks songs the whole way home, wailing like a cat on the 202 and then the 51. He said he wasn't ready for something so serious, not even when I insisted that macaroni was just macaroni and not an offering of a dowry. It was not a cow or a herd of goats. It was just lunch.

I'm sorry, he said. I'm not ready for the spaghetti level of relationship, he explained. Spaghetti added a lot of pressure. It was too soon; spaghetti was . . . more than he could do at the moment. Spaghetti was heavy.

I was stunned for days. Would it have been different with macaroni and cheese, should I have delivered a burrito? After overthinking my misstep, I started to resent the spaghetti. I was never going to make it again. I told my Nana what had happened, and she just laughed. "What a gavone," she said with a wave of her hand. "Spaghetti is just spaghetti! Now if you made gnocchi or brasiole, that's asking for a commitment."

I ran into him at the bar that weekend and instead of snubbing him, I addressed the issue head on.

"Hey, you," I said, drunkenly wagging a finger in his face. "That gravy wasn't just for you, you know. I was trying to be nice. Try to find another girl who makes it like I do. Never. Gonna. Happen. That's my nana's gravy, buster. And you've had it for the last time."

"It was delicious," he admitted.

Seventeen years later, I still think of that guy when I make gravy. I've gotten better at it, and now, after almost two decades of practice, I have it down to near perfection. I feel almost sorry for him, but then I remember the snot bubble I blew near the Indian School exit and I just have to laugh at his foolishness. Jerk.

When I ask him if he sees anything in the magic spaghetti, he never has an answer. But my husband always eats every last bite.

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