Sixty picture later, I’ve just given up. It’s simply not a pretty dish. You’ll need to take my word that it’s delicious. Earthy lentils, bitter (in a good way) onions, and lots of black pepper combine to make one of my all-time favorite bean dishes. It’s hearty and filling. It’s even vegan if that’s your thing. It’s a comfort dish that transports me to Aunt Myra’s kitchen and some warm happy memories. She is a terrific cook and introduced my childhood to mint in green salads (that one took me a while to get used to), Syrian meatloaf, and this wonderful lentil dish. Later in life she introduced me to jug wine but that’s a story for another time.
If I were given the opportunity to pick my last meal on earth, I would choose, without hesitation, spaghetti ala olio. Or as we’ve called it since childhood, spaghetti ollie oley. Though some dishes have more significant memories attached or elegant ingredients, none make my taste buds happier.
Noodles in oil tossed.
Golden garlic shaves atop.
Grated cheese completes.
Casseroles have a bad rap. And rightly so if the spokesmodel for the category is that tan viscous, flaccid-noodled, hot tuna dish with potato chip topping. Oh, the inhumanity. I know people love the stuff. I, however, am of the other camp. Just entering Lent, I have had my share of flashbacks to Fridays when chances were at least a few of them would feature tuna casserole in Mom’s go-to red Pyrex bowl with gold embellishments. Lipstick that pig all you want, the stuff was horrid. No offense to Bunny, generally an awesome cook (discounting the liver and onions fiasco of my youth and her wayward foray into lima beans; bletch). The upside was that I would always consider eating the casserole as my Lenten penance for the day, freeing up whatever chocolate was around for guilt-free consumption.