A Great Recipe for Linguini by Craig J. Clark

Okay, first you go to the store and get some linguini. Well, actually, you have to pay for the linguini because if you don't the people at the store will probably have you arrested or detained, or you'd have to give the linguini back -- and, either way, you wouldn't be able to make it.

So, you buy the linguini and you take it home. Then, you put it in a pot. Actually, there should be some water in the pot. You know, come to think of it, it's supposed to be boiling water because if it's just plain water your linguini won't do anything apart from get soggy. Here's what you should do: Put the water in the pot and put it on the stove before you leave for the store -- that way it will be boiling by the time you get back.

Wait, on second thought, you probably shouldn't do that because then you might burn your house down. Scratch that, it's a bad idea. Wait until you get back from the store and then put the pot of water on the stove. But don't watch it because then it won't boil. Try watching CNN Headline News instead.

So anyway, you put the linguini in the boiling water. Actually, you should take the linguini out of the box and then put it in the boiling water. Otherwise, you'll have a lot of cardboard and glue and cellophane to eat along with your linguini and that doesn't really add much to the culinary experience. I recommend you throw the box out after you've removed the linguini so you're not tempted.

All right, so you've got the linguini. It's out of the box and in the boiling water. Now...how long should you cook it? Well, to tell you the truth, I have no idea. The cooking time is probably on the side of the box, but if you're following these instructions in order you've just thrown that out. Wait, don't go diving into the trash bag for it! Do you really want to chance sticking your hand in the remains of last night's meatloaf? Best just to leave it.

My advice to you at this juncture is to guess how long you should cook the linguini. At worst, you'll only be a couple minutes off. But don't cook it too short or else it will be all crunchy and hard and that's not how linguini is supposed to be. And don't cook it too long because then it will coagulate into some big, disgusting, soupy mess -- and that's not how linguini is supposed to be, either.

Well, anyway, after the linguini is finished cooking (throw some onto the wall if you think that will help), throw some sauce on it, stir it up and voila! Happy cooking!


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This piece, by the way, dates back around 12 years. It was first published as part of the afterword in the issue of my college literary magazine that I co-edited. It has been revised and slightly expanded for Unloosen, though. Perhaps I'll dig up some more old stuff as the fancy strikes me.

If this had only been posted last week, then I would have avoided what has become known as "The Angel Hair Debacle". This is not to be confused with Guns N Roses, "The Spaghetti Incident" EP.

And let us not forget The Linguini Incident, starring David Bowie and Rosanna Arquette, or The Killer Lasagna, an animated short from Brazil. Pasta problems appear to abound.

Good stuff, as usual. I always toss the box and choose the "test with mouth" method for checking the pasta's doneness. Yes, surprisingly, doneness is a word.

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