If you don't follow Arjun Basu's awesome daily short story twitters, you're missing out. Hi tiny, poetic little bites of fiction are delicious (@arjunbasu). I met Arjun when he was the editor of En Route magazine, now he's the editorial director at Spafax and recently published Squishy, a book of short stories (DC Books).
Arjun's also a father and foodie and obviously that's SPC's favourite kind of dad. When I asked him if he'd grace us with a post he past the buck onto his son Milo. I love that Arjun and his wife have got Milo signed up for a dinner each week. This was his first time at it and I'm really impressed. Over to the men.… C.M.
My kid is a bit of a gourmand. But the kind that won’t eat tomatoes. At least not in their natural state. Milo is 10. And he loves to eat. And he’s always been good about helping his mother when she bakes. He also makes excellent salad dressing. His magic ingredient, almost always, is thyme. You will see proof of this soon. And he really does make great salad dressing. Thyme and all.
But he doesn’t really help out in the kitchen all that much. So we decided he should plan one night’s menu every week. He was all for it and he went through our cookbooks and chose meals and ensured we had the ingredients (and if not, he wrote down the ingredient list). And then he’d help in the preparation. Meaning he would encourage whoever it was that was cooking. And perhaps stir a little.
And then we said, Why don’t you do the actual cooking? He agreed. And then he went one step further and said he would cook something he, um, cooked up himself. He would create a recipe of his own.
He consulted some cookbooks for inspiration. And then he asked me what we had in the freezer. I looked and dug out a large chunk of bacon. And then he went to work. He asked what kind of pasta we had. I checked (though I doubt very much the shape of the pasta would have mattered). The recipe, after much re-writing, looked like this:
It was remarkably simple. He called his grandmother and she told him to make sure the garlic didn’t burn but it should also change colour before anything else. I cut the bacon into cubes for him. Since it was frozen, it was rather easy to cut. He might have added that fact to the recipe in hindsight. And I chopped the garlic. Then I stepped back. And in less than 15 minutes, we had our pasta. Thyme and all.
1 ounce bacon, cut in cubes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tb olive oil
I tb dry thyme (more if using fresh)
Ground pepper and salt to taste
1/3 cup parmesan
Boil water for pasta and cook according to instructions.
Saute bacon until cooked. Remove bacon and put it in a bowl. Drain excess bacon fat and add olive oil to the pan. Put the garlic in the pan and sauté it.
Add the thyme and the ground black pepper and salt. Then add the bacon. Add sauce to pasta. Toss the pasta with the parmesan.