I watched a segment on a late night television show recently about a new camera that allows you to manipulate the photo after you’ve taken it. Not just photo shop and enhancement, but also actually choosing where the photographer wants the focus to be. With one little click, your eyes will be drawn to an object in the background or the image will zero in on something in the foreground. What’s interesting to me is that the image is the image, no matter the focus. It’s the same moment in time, the same objects, just with a shift in perspective.
I love photography because it captures slices of life. It’s almost like a memory is pickled or preserved for future enjoyment. Pickling and preserving is for another blog entry altogether, but today I want to explore the actual slice of life that has been captured. If a camera can manipulate the focus with a click of a button, then why can’t I control my own focus with my own mental shifts? Well, I can, I just don’t always choose to I suppose.
I love the past, I love all things old, and for better or for worse, I often play memories over and over in my mind. There is constant talk (even on this blog) of being present and I do believe that is important. But I also think that perspective is the ingredient that bridges the past and present. Just like our perspective of a photo bridges the foreground and the background. We can’t have one without the other.
We may often want to blur the lines of our past or maybe our memory isn’t that great and certain things are a bit fuzzy when we try to remember them. No matter. We are the sum of all of our parts. The divorce, the diagnosis, and the loss, as well as the promotion, the births, and triumphs. No matter how you slice it, where we are now is hinged on every single one of the events of our past.
And maybe we want to forget the bad stuff and recall only the good. I offer you this; the focus from our background to our foreground only demonstrates the relationship between the two. It doesn’t take away one and highlight the other. It doesn’t change who we are. I try not to judge my past or present, but instead I rely on my mental shifts of focus that give me a healthier perspective.
A fond memory, and a slice of my past, is when I was a nanny caring for 2 little boys here in New York City. I did the bulk of the meal preparation when I was with this family, but when the boys’ Italian Nonna, or grandmother, was in town she would take over the kitchen. This was delightful to me for many reasons, but mostly because she made us spaghetti frittatas. Nearly 20 years later, this is one of my all time favorite things to make and eat. My friends and I call it spaghetti pizza pie.
Spaghetti Pizza Pie
This is a perfect way to use up leftover cooked pasta and red sauce!
4 cups cooked and cooled spaghetti noodles
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
olive oil and nonstick spray
cracked red pepper flakes, extra sauce and cheese for serving
Toss pasta and pasta sauce in medium bowl to blend. Add eggs, salt, pepper, and mix with your hands. Slip the mixture into a well-heated large skillet preheating on a medium flame. Coat the pan generously with nonstick spray and add a thin layer of olive oil.
Slip the pasta mixture into the pan and give it a shake. This loosens the pasta and helps to prevent it from sticking.
The pasta will begin to come together into one piece after about 10 minutes. Slip a spatula underneath the pasta to check for browning. Once it seems toasted and solid on the bottom, cover the pan with a sheet pan with the rimmed sides facing upwards. Carefully, keeping the sheet pan and the skillet attached, flip the two pans together upside down. Return the skillet to the burner and reoil and spray. Slip the now solid pasta pie back into the pan, raw side down. Cook for another 10 minutes. Flip again if it seems like it needs more time, cleaning off the sheet pan from the first flip so there is no raw egg. Do one last flip onto a serving platter, slice like a pie/pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cracked red pepper. Serve with warmed red sauce.