Monday, January 4, 2016

National Spaghetti Day and Pop Music Chart Day

National Spaghetti Day!  

Who doesn't love a big dish of classic spaghetti and meatballs?  Or a more refined dish of spaghetti with pesto and shrimp (my plans for the evening)?  Or a late night snack of spaghetti carbonara?  Even a simple buttered spaghetti with a bit of parmesan hits the spot.

(above photo is of Ina Garten's Real Meatballs and Spaghetti)

One of the most classic family pictures is of my sister in her high chair after eating a bowl of spaghetti and marinara.  The red sauce and noodles were all over her face, in her hair, on the high chair tray, and likely on the floor and beyond.  I wish I had a scanned copy of the pic to post because it would bring a smile to everyone's face.

Growing up in a small town in mid-Missouri, I was not exposed to "real" Italian food but I didn't know that until later in life.  It wasn't something we had weekly -- probably a couple times a month.  Although I didn't know much about preparing spaghetti, I knew enough to be appalled when one of my friend's moms rinsed a big batch of prepared spaghetti in cold water and then added oil so it wouldn't stick together.  It was for a big gathering, so we served it anyway and I don't believe there were any complaints.

Once I moved of-campus in college, my two roommates and I would sometimes have spaghetti and meat sauce for family dinner.  We had a huge debate about tossing the spaghetti in the sauce or serving the sauce on top of the spaghetti.  The lines were drawn and no one was budging, so we served it both ways.  The Food Network did not exist at that time, so there was no one to tell us to always add pasta too the sauce so the pasta and sauce are properly incorporated.

As an adult, I enjoy experimenting with different types of pasta, sauces, ingredients, and spices and have found that it's difficult to mess up a pot of spaghetti as long as you don't overcook it and only add things you enjoy eating to the dish.

My plans tonight are simple -- I'll have spaghetti tossed with some pesto sauce I made this fall using the final harvest of basil and parsley from my garden plot and serve it with sautéed grape tomatoes and shrimp.  Easy, clean and delicious.

I know that a lot of chain Italian restaurants are offering National Spaghetti Day deals, but I just can't bring myself to order pasta out unless it's freshly made by the chef.  Which reminds me that a goal for the year is to learn how to make pasta from scratch, but that's likely another celebration to take place later in 2016.

More information about National Spaghetti Day can be found on this fun site

Pop Music Chart Day

I couldn't resist highlighting another January 4th celebration today -- Pop Music Chart Day.

I was completely obsessed with the pop charts starting in middle school and continuing through college.  In the 80s, I thought Casey Kasem had the best job in the world -- counting down the American Top 40 every week.  The only thing that was not good about this radio show is that it aired on Sunday mornings.

(Take some time to learn more about Casey!  He was an interesting guy and accomplished much more than having my dream job.  Casey's bio on Wikipedia)

Every Sunday, I listened to the American Top 40 in my room until it was time to go to church.  At the very last possible minute, I put a blank tape into the boombox and pressed record so I could listen to that hour's worth of music later that afternoon.  Sometimes, we got back home in time for me to hear the top 3 live before going to Grandma's for Sunday dinner.  On less fortunate days, I would be left hanging until I found someone who had heard the show and could tell me which song was #1 that week.

Rolling Stone was the other chart maker that I followed religiously.  I carefully reviewed the list in each issue, marking which songs and/or recordings I heard, owned or wanted to buy.  Much of my allowance was spent at Musicland.

If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate Pop Music Chart Day, check out E!'s Pop Music Quiz.

As I'm eating my spaghetti dinner, I think I'll listen to some of my favorite To 40s from the 80s -- starting with Pop Muzik by M.

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