Thursday, December 20, 2012


No one talks about its elegance. They’ll talk about its simplicity. Oh, they’ll go on about its simplicity. And how pure it is. How unpretentious. How basic.
No one talks about its curving and Rubenesque flavors. No one talks about its lush cream, or the sauce with a history all of its own. They neglect the thing that happens to spinach, and how its leaves turn supple, like lingerie. The do not talk about the magic spell in every fennel seed. They forget that the salt in Parmesan comes directly from the palms of Italians, lined and creased w/ Tuscan soil.
No, they freeze it and call it an ”option”. But Lasagna is no Veronica’s Betty, no Ginger’s Maryanne.

Lasagna’s seven veils are not wispy but thick and drowsy. Each noodle is a love letter, rectangular and curled in a waving Cheshire smile. Each dollop of Ricotta is white and hopeful in the crimson sea of sauce. The spinach leaves are laid out, straight and orderly. Each one is placed carefully, each intentionally, like careful love. The spinach and ricotta stare at each other, yearning, awaiting completion, burlesque and bawdy, each. That is the thing about lasagna.

It’s straight laces, is comforting rectangular housing and easy geometric portioning, that is the great trick as lasagna is comforting, but not because of its neat packaging, its easily deconstructed layers.

Lasagna assembles, orchestrates, curates. It leads you around the dance floor, confident and strong. It does not buckle under. Rather it holds you there, just above your hips, and whispers in to your ear, just so.

Lasagna sings softly, but steady. More than a murmur, as Italian in a hushed, sexy voice often can seem. The heat in the kitchen is from more than the oven.

And it lingers, it draws it out. From the moment of firing the oven to when it finally presents itself supine for consumption there are a hundred small romances each more maddening than the last. Each taste of the sauce is a stolen kiss. The smell of the frying Italian Sausage, the sound of mad crackling grease, have the kind of electricity and immediacy of a copped feel. The garlic oil gets into your skin, slick and deep in its permeation.

In spite of all this madness lasagna remains elegant, long and complex. For each Amsterdam Red Light explosion of longing and yearning lasagna keeps a mystery hidden, tucked away, inside. This small thing, this small bit of immaculate brilliance, is love.

Love is what brings the milk to the milkmaid. Love is what grows the tomatoes. Love is what rains on the starved spinach crop. Love is the voice behind the song. Love is the secret spell inside of the fennel seed. Love is what assembles these bits into an orchestra.

That is what lasagna tastes like.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Phil. Cool post about lasagna. I'm hungry now.If you're ever in Toronto, Uncle Betty's has incredible lasagna.
    Um.... I have a weird question. Can I have your domain name, I noticed you hadn't posted anything on it since 2007. My brother always used it as a nickname for me and I thought it would work well for my illustration blog. All you'd need to do is change the name of your other blog to something else in your blog settings, then I could use it. That would be awesome!
    I seriously want lasagna now!