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Wed Jan 4, 2017, 08:21 AM

Happy Spaghetti Day: Haruki Murakami: "The Year of Spaghetti"

"In 1971 I cooked spaghetti to live, and lived to cook spaghetti. Steam rising from the aluminum pot was my pride and joy, tomato sauce bubbling up in the sauce pan my one great hope in life. I'd gone to a specialty store and bought a kitchen timer and a huge aluminum cooking pot, big enough to bathe a German shepherd in, then went round to all the supermarkets that cater to foreigners, gathering an assortment of odd-sounding spices. I picked up a pasta cookbook at the bookstore, and bought tomatoes by the dozen. I purchased every brand of spaghetti I could lay my hands on, simmered every kind of sauce known to man. Fine particles of garlic, onion, and olive oil swirled in the air, forming a harmonious cloud that penetrated every corner of my tiny apartment ... .

"As a rule I cooked spaghetti and ate it alone. I was convinced that spaghetti was a dish best enjoyed alone. ... I always drank tea with my spaghetti and ate a simple lettuce and cucumber salad. I'd make sure I had plenty of both. I laid everything out neatly on the table, and enjoyed a leisurely meal, glancing at the paper as I ate. From Sunday to Saturday, one Spaghetti Day followed another. And each new Sunday started a brand-new Spaghetti Week. Spaghetti alla parmigiana. Spaghetti alla napoletana, Spaghetti al cartoccio. Spaghetti aglio e olio. Spaghetti alla carbonara. Spaghetti della pina. And then there was the pitiful, nameless leftover spaghetti, carelessly tossed into the fridge. ... Durum semolina, golden wheat wafting in Italian fields. Can you imagine how astonished the Italians would be if they knew that what they were exporting in 1971 was really loneliness?"

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