'Special' Pasta was a meal cooked by my Sister in Law (SIL) and her boyfriend and it was so memorable that she will, forevermore, be known as my 'Special Pasta SIL'. I will probably be talking about my SIL now and again on this blog so it would help to set her in the correct historical context.
The story goes something like this:
One Sunday we had to go and visit my SIL and her fiance in their new house (they are now actually married but that is a WHOLE new post....). They've been here for 3 course meals many a time but this was a first for us (lets just say she's not known or her generosity).
Let me just start by saying they are both extremely odd. No they ARE! They are both about 40 (so not teenagers just moved out of home) and, quite frankly, on another planet. They have separate living rooms - his is downstairs with the walls covered in those plates you see advertised in the back of the News of the World - and hers is upstairs, filled with dolls houses and poems to her dead hamster. No really - there is a framed photo of him (before he died) and a poem dedicated to his, brief, life.
I think you could describe them as eccentric. If you were being polite...
She has ALWAYS been a tricky customer, some of the things she's done over the years have had me scratching my head and wondering if I'm trapped in a bad sitcom. For example, last Christmas she gave us a half eaten box of chocolates (you could tell they were half eaten because the box had been resealed with cellotape...) and a cook book with a dedication to HER written in the front of it. That was a painful moment - the bit where my husband said 'oh, how lovely! You've written in it for us! Dear.... Oh!'.
Another Christmas she gave my husband a paperback book about Julian Clary's life entitled 'A Young Man's Passage'. To say this was a bizarre choice is slightly underplaying it.
Anyway, back to that Sunday.....
They started cooking us lunch and said they were doing their 'special pasta'. Well it was certainly 'special'. I watched in horror as they tipped a packet of fresh pasta out of the fridge and a packet of dried pasta out of the cupboard into the same pan of boiling water. Hmmmm. Not the greatest of starts! Then he said he was going to put prawns and pesto on it but it turned out there were no prawns as she'd 'already spent too much in Budgens that week' (erm, WHO exactly does their weekly shop in Budgens? When they have a car? And several large supermarkets in the area?). So no prawns and therefore no pesto as apparently 'you have to have it with prawns'.
SO the pasta is cooking and I watch in horror as the guy then tips in two raw onions, a jar of Ragu and............... a packet of FROZEN mince.
A few minutes later they served it up to us. 'Luckily' there was enough pasta for 12 people and enough meat/sauce for 2 so I just picked out some of the pasta and ate that. Lumps of the meat hadn't even fallen apart where they were still frozen.
They kept saying how lovely it was (which makes you stop and consider what do the normally eat? 'Chappie' dog food?. I just hadn't got the heart to say 'look this is actually DANGEROUS, you can not eat this kind of thing!'. How can you get to 40 and think that that is OK? How can you get to 40 and eat that kind of thing and still be alive?
Other weird things included the fact that they had lived there for months yet she had to ask him where their bin was (?) and when we rang the doorbell she said 'oh we've got a doorbell! How marvellous!'. For some reason they clearly don't have many callers....
As I said, they got married earlier this year. Let's just say it lived up to all expectations.....