January 12, 2008

Carbonara: Italian for "Fuck it, let's eat"

I've got the blues today. For a few reasons.

First, my holiday break is almost over. School starts on Monday, and I am not looking forward to starting a new semester. I am currently an adjunct at two colleges where I teach composition. That means that I am technically a part-timer at each school, even though I usually teach 5 or 6 total classes a semester. The life of an adjunct is a tiresome one, especially since the low income usually means the requirement of another job. Anyway, I work my ass off, don't get paid enough for it, don't receive benefits or tenure, and haven't had any prospects of a full-time position. *sigh*

Each semester I apply for a full-time job, and each semester I am passed over by someone who has more education (that PhD who can't get a professorship anywhere), more experience, more publications, more presentations, more kissassiness. Applying again and again and being rejected again and again is demoralizing, depressing, embarrassing, frustrating, and exhausting.

Second, I am having cat problems. My beloved Oliver, who I've have for fourteen years, has been having some litter box issues...as in refusing to use the litter box. As a result, he is quarantined to a small bedroom (one with no carpet, thank god) for most of the day. I took him to the vet last week; apparently he has another urinary tract infection. This is an on-going problem. Now, he is taking two medications for 30 days. And still pissing on the floor.

The kicker is that I am trying to sell my house (a 100-year-old Victorian in Alton, Illinois...if you're interested), and we all know that odor of cat urine does not help the resale value. I have a few other things to try to remedy the situation, but some of my friends are telling me to put the cat down (even though he's otherwise healthy).

Let's see, what else?

Oh yeah, that damned diet idea. No good. It lasted about a week, then the Prices invited me over for wine, then I broke down and ate toast (eek!) for breakfast, then I had fondue for dinner last night.

And, Tuesday marks the 12th anniversary of my mother's death.

So, in an attempt to avoid cleaning up cat piss again or thinking about other miserable shit, I spent the afternoon browsing around TasteSpotting (aka Food Porn Heaven). And I came upon this picture: Photobucket from CookThink.

At that point, I said to hell! with the diet and decided to make carbonara for dinner (a dish I'd never made before).

But, just to make myself feel a little better about that, I washed a few loads of dishes beforehand.

Then, I cut up three slices of bacon. Crisped them up in a pan. Boiled some macaroni noodles (because I didn't have spaghetti). Beat up an egg with some cream. Added the cooked noodles to the bacon. Poured in the egg (off the heat). Added salt, pepper, garlic, & parmesan....

Voila! Macaroni & Cheese alla Carbonara

Just as I was sitting down with my bowl of pasta con bacon & happiness, my friend Ashby called and asked me if I was having a shitty day, and I replied in the affirmative, proceeding to tell him Oliver's pee-pee troubles. And my culinary prescription of "eat a bowl of carbonara and call it a day." According to Ashby, that was a perfect remedy since "carbonara" is Italian for "Fuck it, let's eat."

Upon hearing my tales of woe, Ashby invited himself and his wife (and their two friends) over for wine. How could I say no? He offered to bring tasty treats from Whole Foods and a "hilariously naughty CD to listen to while we get drunk." Their mission: To make me have fun.

All the carbonara in the world couldn't beat that.


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