A good bowl of pasta is like a good book - you often will learn as much about yourself as you will the author. Despair is a great example of this - the shrimp plump in your stomach to give you an unnerving sense of being physically full, but emotionally empty, while the spicy three meat sauce causes your eyes to water a little bit. Yeah, that's just the sauce. It's really spicy.
Pictured here is Despair.
Shrimp, like all ocean bottom-feeders, are communal in nature, yet they all fall prey to the mighty shark. So, really, if you think about it, the shark, even though he lives alone, wins in the end. The shrimp's friends can't save him when the shark comes by. The shark eats them all, every time.
Pictured here is Solitaire.
Roasted mushroom sauce and breaded chicken is not a very good combo. I regret it.
Pictured here is Regret.
In theory, all meat-based dishes in the bowl should be a constant reminder of the fragility of life. One minute, you're living high on the hog - or you are a hog - and the next, you're part of some middle manager's second bowl of noodles and ground-up chunks of your carcass. He doesn't even finish you. The busboy scrapes your remains into a giant bucket without a thought, and your earthly form returns from whence it came - the padlocked dumpster behind the Olive Garden.
Pictured here is Mortality.
There are certain things man was not meant to eat. Today, my body made it quite clear to me that "Nothing but pasta, forever," is near the top of that list. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say it will take some time for equillibrium to be re-established and for me to restore order among the bacterial fauna of my gut.
Lunch was "Man Vs. Pasta".
Dinner was comprised of four plates of pasta:
I remain confident that this was a minor setback, and thanks to my companion, I got to try a bonus dish without dedicating an entire platter to it!
A special thanks to my dining companion, Vinegar!
In our culture, manliness is primarily defined by two traits: meat-eating, and a reckless disregard for one's own health. Man Vs. Pasta fulfills both of these in spades, and would be at home in any bachelor's cookbook.
Pictured here is Man Vs. Pasta, complete with hearty links of italian sausage, thick, meat-filled sauce, and a pasta that is best described as "rugged".
Some people climb Everest and feel no sense of accomplishment or relief, but only the thirst for a greater challenge, one that may not exist, and the quest for which will ultimately destroy them. These people look upon the five separate cheeses in the Five Cheese Marinara and know that their destiny awaits them with the judicious application of a sixth cheese, hand-grated by a waiter with a permanent expression of horror frozen on their face.
Pictured here is the only known photograph of Cheezilla, as none have yet made it to the "share to instagram" button before collapsing from immediate cardiac arrest.
I've never been married, and if I make it through 49 days of the Pasta Bowl, I likely never will. Still, this is what I imagine married couples eat at the end of the week - random hunks of food left in the refrigerator, combined in such a way that makes edibility a secondary concern to "doing something with the sausage before it goes bad".
Pictured here is the End Of The Week, and doesn't it just make you yearn for Friday?
Something about the unnatural orange goo of 5 Cheese Marinara, combined with the crusty breading of Chicken Fritta, along with the tough wholesomeness of the Whole Wheat Linguini really brings to mind the heatstroke-filled days of the summertime fair.
Pictured here is A Day At The Fair. Can't you smell the corndogs?! Warning: if you actually do smell corn dogs, and are not currently reading this blog form an actual fair, this may be an early symptom of schizophrenia. Please, seek help.
"Oh, that sounds *good*!" encouraged our waitress as I dictated the ingredients for my next masterpiece.
"Yes, I know. I shall call it 'Red Sky At Night', as a subtle reference to the old mariner's turn of phrase," I thought, but did not say.
Pictured here is Red Sky At Night, and I think you will agree that it would delight any sailor.
"Ah, you have the Pasta Pass. It is a very good deal," the manager informs me. "You are very lucky." He is not smiling.
I return his blank expression with a nod and a beatific grin as I lick clean my third bowl of pasta.
Lunch was "My First Dinner For Two".
Only two days of the Never Ending Pasta Bowl have elapsed, and it seems that I've already made a name for myself. I expect to see much more of the manager - lord knows he'll see more of me.
A special thanks to my dining companion, Alycia!
If you are a certain type of gentleman, this dish will immediately transport you back to the age of three weeks after your eighteenth birthday, with a dinner date scheduled for that very night. You're too young to understand how to cook, but too old to not be expected to. You want to project an air of sophistication and worldliness, but you also only want to spend $3 on the ingredients, because that's all the tip money you got on the shitty morning shift at Applebee's.
Pictured here is My First Dinner For Two - angelhair, a can of store-brand knockoff Ragu, and two giant meat-flavored lumps. No side dish is provided, and, thankfully, none is asked for.