February 21, 2005

Eat Al Dente

We've all done it - decided that gnawing on a dry noodle is really a fantastic idea. Memory is erased between the last time you ate a dry noodle and the present. At this very moment, you are probably holding in your hand the dry noodle that fell onto the counter when you poured the rigatoni into the boiling water. You are going to put the noodle in your mouth and think how silly and ridiculous it is to do it, but that won't stop you from eating it. You won't think about the last time you did so, how the crunch was precisely the kind of crunch humans don't like. It's really like trying to chew on a stick but worse. You won't even worry about possibly breaking a tooth or how a dry noodle doesn't taste like much due to the overwhelming crunchiness of it. Let's call this texture "stale brittle". (Notice that I took out the "peanut" which may have conjured up a memory of the softness and flavor of peanut butter).

And we let our children eat dried noodles too. You know who you are. If your child has ever brought home a noodle necklace then you are probably a let-your-child-eat-a-dried-noodle kind of parent. You may even let your friends' children eat dried noodles because you're thinking - hey, it's food and it's not like it will hurt them.

Well, studies are going to show something. I don't know what it is yet, but the results are going to be overwhelming in the pasta community. These studies will force the FDA to put warnings, like the following, on boxes of noodles from now on:

Surgeon General recommends that you only eat noodles that are cooked. Eating raw noodles has been known to cause holes in the throat, nerdiness in teens, disorderliness in the kitchen, and may cause rats to speak Italian.


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