Do you know what annoys me even more than my nail polish chipping as I open my car door after one of my now quarterly manicures? Meddlers. Nosy, opinionated buttinskies. Especially those who are unrelated.
I was out to lunch with my main little man narrowly avoiding stray pieces of grilled cheese when a woman interrupted our dodgeball game. I was expecting a welcome “He’s adorable!” delay, but got Mommyslapped instead.
“Let me tell you something,” she said, oozing snarkiness. “I have never known a baby who starved to death when offered food on a regular basis. Don’t you think he’s had enough?”
I am a liberal, peace-loving vegetarian. I believe in the inherent goodness of most human beings. I can readily deal with my own Mommy Meddlers (to their credit, they’re pretty tame, but I have certainly been told to watch for signs of choking once or twice). However, this woman–a complete stranger who stuck her pointy nose in my lunch business–really pissed me off.
I dug deep for restraint before I responded to try to blow her off in a politically correct way. Just then Alex voluntarily took a bite of his sandwich and smiled. Sweet revenge. He even said “num num”–a sound he makes when he’s really enjoying his food–while he was chewing. I love that kid. What a wingman!
I am guilty of giving her my best “I told you so” look, but otherwise channeled my annoyance into a rambling text message to one of my Mommy Mavens. She completely agreed with my take. What do you think? Do Mommy Meddlers irritate you, too?
That woman will never be invited over my house for this week’s Rachipe (Rachael Ray recipe). Spaghetti and Meatballs are a classic comfort food that can have a calming effect after an encounter with a Mommy Meddler (especially when paired with Mommyjuice). Mangia!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 pound spaghetti
Salt, for pasta water
1 1/4 pounds ground sirloin
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup beef stock, available on soup aisle in market in small paper boxes (Mommy Dish note: I omit the beef stock so I can reserve some of the sauce for myself and keep it vegetarian)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (Mommy Dish note: I prefer San Marzano tomatoes)
A handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
10 leaves fresh basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
Grated cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, for passing at table
Crusty bread or garlic bread, for passing at the table
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place a large pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it boils, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente.
Mix beef and Worcestershire, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll meat into 1 1/2 inch medium-sized meatballs and place on nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet greased with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake balls 10 to 12 minutes, until no longer pink.
Heat a deep skillet or medium pot over moderate heat. Add oil, crushed pepper, garlic and finely chopped onion. Saute 5 to 7 minutes, until onion bits are soft. Add beef stock (if you’re using it), crushed tomatoes, and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
Toss hot, drained pasta with a few ladles of the sauce and grated cheese. Turn meatballs in remaining sauce. Place pasta on dinner plates and top with meatballs and sauce and extra grated cheese. Serve with bread or garlic bread (and some good chianti!)