27 July 2009

Simple Path: Milk and Wheat Transformed

Generally speaking, one ignores the utterances of royalty at one’s peril.

This is particularly true in regards to food preferences. Or more precisely, random statements referencing food preferences. Because what the princess wants for dinner or lunch or snack is a quantam crapshoot of crackers or cheese or yogurt or cookies or cheese sticks or peanut butter sandwiches, and what Her Majesty says often bears no relation to what she wants.

This is not to say that constants do not exist. They do. At least, we sort of agree that they do. Scientists have spent a crap load of time and effort measuring and judging and experimenting with the fabric of the universe. The speed of light seems to be a tough nut to crack, so for practical purposes, ain’t nothing gonna top that. Not in my lifetime, with the possible exception of the reaction time between the pronouncement and the protest when I tell my daughter “that will be the last game before bedtime”. Sheesh. There is no instrument that can measure that sort of speed.

Still, constants exist. Some strange attractors have come to light, within the limited but rapidly expanding Universe that is the sphere of awareness of Her Highness’ mind. Without true awareness, the princess is constantly running mathematical analyses on the nonstop stream of data that impinges upon the blossoming sponge of consciousness she claims for a brain. She carries it about in a skull-shaped porcelain vase bejeweled with two blue windows of astonishing beauty and purity. She processes, sharply and with lightning speed.

The numbers games going on in Her Lightness’ head rarely stops to stay anywhere for long. Simply put, there are too many Wonderful Things in the multiverse to consider, when the clock in one’s head isn’t counting down to anything. The Data, the Input, is all new and fresh. There is no reason for a Young Mind, even that of a whip-smart, razor sharp Princess with a bent for pink anything, to know that the thing right in front of it is the best of its kind, simply because it IS right in front of you. So the tendency is to skip around, like a thought-stone on the watery surface of the cosmos.

Constants. As I said, they do exist. Strange attractors are starting to dimple the fractal net, and Her Highness is now verbalizing them. One strange attractor in particular.

Butter noodles. Butter noodles with salt.

It seems that every two out of three times I ask the Wee Lass what she wants for dinner, and very often even when I don’t ask (she just tells me), butter noodles is the response.

For a while, though, I resisted this insistence. Butter noodles every now and then was no big deal. But every night? What’s up with that? Perhaps it was the jaded adult in me that just could not fathom this.

Tonight, the Princess made me see the light.

It had been a long, busy day of activities (park, mall, bookstore) and fatigue (both of us) and some sickness (the Princess) and I was no longer interested in cooking anything. But dinnertime loomed, the royal stomach seemed calm and calories were needed. So the dinner request was just a formality.

Me: What do you want for din---
Her: Butter noodles!

With a sigh and a saucepan, I set the water to boil, noodles at the ready. A big bowl on the counter into which I set some nice slabs of Irish butter. I let the heat of the stovetop soften up the butter while the noodles cook. Once done, a quick drain in the colander and then into the bowl. The noodles are turned into the butter and dusted with salt. Her Royal tastebuds loves them some butter and salt. Without ambitions beyond staying awake long enough to put her to bed, I portioned off a heaping bowl of the noodles for myself. I carried her bowl and mine to the Tinkerbell table parked in front of the TV, and we set to. She dug in with gusto, I with feeble enthusiasm.

The scales fell from my eyes, dear readers. Sitting there with my chin at table top level, slurping on a bowl of salty, buttery goodness, the elegant simplicity of it finally sank in. Her Majesty announced the noodles were “awesome!”. I in my hardened weariness had to concede that the noodles were indeed awesome, being so simple and so good. I was content.

Contentment. Elusive like a butterfly, but there it was perched on the tip of my tongue. We sat and ate, and all was right with the world.


  1. If a butterfly landed on my tongue I would eat it. Stands to reason.

    But what you're really saying is that daughters take after their dads?

  2. Great story Irish. I too loves me some butter-noodles. The wife can't understand it, but she makes them for me when I ask her too.

  3. Oh, I only wish someone would say "Butter noodles!" when asked the "What do you want for dinner?" question. I either get the maddening reply of "I don't care" or something that takes 4 hours and a trip to Argentina for the ingredients.

  4. I was going to say something about how they can eat the same thing day after day, but really, if left on my own, I'd do the same thing.

  5. She could eat dinner here anytime. :-)
    Nice job.

  6. When I was little it was butter and white rice and salt.

    I love that you sat at the Tinkerbell table with your daughter. I'm sure that butter noodles taste best when seated at such a table.

    I second the motion that any noodles are good noodles.

  7. Being the tomato lover that I am, I am not happy with simple, but I also take after my father who also like his tomatoes and peppers on most things...(ketchup is not included in this response) Noodles and sauce please...

  8. Ruth Reichl espouses the beauty of a simple bowl of noodles and good butter, but also with a dusting of Parmesan. And I tend to hoover in my daughter's leftovers.

  9. I believe you just provided the longer and more poetic definition of "comfort food."


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