Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

You say tomato, I say tomato. I remember.

“There are two sides to every story – and then?  There’s the truth.”  Growing up, I’d heard these words applied to matters of the heart and it taught me to really contemplate how to perceive every argument, misunderstanding or complicated story to come down the pike.  It gave me perspective on how humans relate to one another and how complex situations can be.  Growing up, I learned that nothing is ever truly black & white – it is always mixed, making many shades of gray.

As I get older, I am starting to see the three-pronged story rule get wickedly bent.  When strong personalities want to re-write history to shine the spotlight of their choice on stories of the past, folks in Hollywood and Washington D.C. call them “Spin Doctors” — I call ‘em family.  For Spin Doctors, there’s only one side to a story – theirs.  Not yours.  Not ever.

Having someone discount your memory of a time or place, can make you feel a lil’ bit wacky.  There’s even a phrase for it, to “Gaslight” someone.  It is a reference to the 1944 film with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, meaning to manipulate events and situations so that a person believes he/she is crazy.  Off their trolley.  Mad as a hatter.

It happens time and time again, but the main “Gaslight” tale in my history, the one that drives me to distraction, all boils down to a plate of spaghetti.  Clam spaghetti, to be exact.  Clam spaghetti made with minced clams.  It’s not so important that the dish was made with clams, but allow me highlight a key word involved in the recipe: minced.  You know what minced means, right?  If you consult a thesaurus you’ll pull words up like: crushed and pulverized.  So, even if you’re not a clam person, you can appreciate that mincing leaves the already itty bitty bivalves nearly microscopic by the time they are added to a dish.  Which brings me to my point (and I do have one) – when one sits down to eat a plate of the above-mentioned clam spaghetti, and I will not mince words here, you cannot NOT eat a clam.  Even if one attempts to “push them to the side of the plate” you will consume clams.  Thousands of them.  You are like a whale swimming through a sea of plankton.  You might not want to eat ‘em, but by golly, your gullet is full of ‘em when you get to the other side.

I’m just sayin’.

When someone tells me (shouts at me, really) that they’ve “never ever eaten a clam in their entire life” and I’ve been the person sitting across the table for four plus decades breaking bread (garlic, usually) with them over countless meals involving said clam spaghetti – I’m going to have call “Gaslight” on them.  It’s my side of the story against their side of the story and somewhere, at the bottom of colander… is the truth.  No matter how minced/crushed/pulverized it now seems to be.


Clam Spaghetti

A decades-old family recipe that, apparently only I remember.


1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 to 8 cloves garlic, chopped

2 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams with juice

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 bunches of fresh parsley, washed and chopped

Black pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the garlic 1 minute, until tender. Mix in the juice.  Add parsley.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Add clams last (they get rubbery if you cook them too long).

In a large bowl, toss the spaghetti with the clam sauce, Parmesan cheese and pepper.  Garnish with parsley sprigs to serve. 

You say tomato, I say tomato, you eat potato and I eat potato.  Tomato, tomato, potato, potato — let's call the whole thing off.” –- George and Ira Gershwin

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