It had been a particularly grueling morning at our upstairs consruction site, building furdowns around the recently installed heating/ac ducts. I was physically wiped out, but I took the time to make a decent lunch for the entire construction crew - my Father-in-law and I.
I prepared spaghetti with meat sauce, sweet italian sausage and made-from-scratch-hot-from-the-oven garlic bread sticks for lunch.
Amazingly enough, this was the first time in almost 20 years of knowing my Father-in-law, that I actually watched my him eat spaghetti.
He spread the pile of sauce laden pasta evenly out on the plate and used his fork to cut off bite-sized squres from the oodles of noodles. Each square was a perfectly symmetrical assemblage of spaghetti.
It then occured to me that in my F-i-l's view of the culinary world, this dish of pasta was just another type of casserole. Serve it on a plate, fork off a piece, and consume it promptly. Neat, tidy, no fuss, no flying sauce, no need for a bib or safetly goggles.
When publicly consuming pasta, etiquette and good manners forces me to practice the fork-twirling-in-the-spoon technique. Get enough on your fork to fill your mouth, fill your mouth, bite off any straggling noodles, catching the bitten off pieces on your spoon before they sloppily land back on your plate.
However at home, in the presence of my immediate family, I practice the Way of the Slurp.
I blame my Hawaiian/Asian roots for this, but noodles in soup of any kind (ramen, saimin, udon, soba, etc.) only tastes right when they are slurped loudly and with all the gusto of Winnie-the-Pooh eating a jar of honey.
Which brings me to the task of which I am now faced. That of teaching my daughters the Way of the Slurp.
Once they master the technique (it's not easy to slurp noodles and soup without the occassional gagging or coughing a noodle out your nose), then I'll teach them the more "public" methods of eating noodle dishes.
It is my hope that the day we take our daughters to the land of their ancestors, order some steaming hot ramen noodles, break apart the chopsticks and commence to consume the delightful delicacy in a bowl, they will slurp with abandon, impressing natives and locals alike.