Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Butter makes everything better

"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."
— Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

A bad day aches. It creeps into your body and follows you with each movement of your big toe, each twist of your wrist, or every blink of the eyes. It is impossible to get away from once it is confirmed and in my case can only be helped by sobbing my eyes out. Even if it is something that would make a normal person scream, I without a doubt, always cry.

Needless to say, today was a bad day. I won't go into detail, mostly because it will just upset me again. But, here is the short of the very long: health insurance totally blows even if you have it, 5th graders do not do well with "open-ended" assignments in art class, coaching middle school tennis when you aren't a good tennis player is a bad idea, and even though spring time is totally lovely in Nashville, TN, a pollen count of 111 makes me sneeze...a lot.

Being the predictable 26 year old that I am I got in my car this afternoon and cried, all the way home. It is easy to feel defeated on days like this. Self deprecating thoughts came to mind and it was very hard to turn off the Lifetime Network on the TV. But then, as if Julia Child was a little angel whispering in my ear, I thought of butter.

I don't think of butter often. I didn't grow up putting butter on my bread, my pancakes, or even my baked potatoes. "Too many calories," my mother would say. "We don't need it on top of everything we eat!" This credo has followed me so much that as an adult I put vegan Earth Balance on my bran muffins rather than butter. For me, butter was taught to be more sacred than a toast topper...

There are couple of staples in my life that I was taught to cook with a very special secret ingredient, not just butter but a lot of it. Scrambled eggs, pancake batter, roasted chicken, and of course pasta (without tomato sauce) concoctions. Butter is the secret to success in these dishes and these dishes are the secret to saving me from my unstoppable tears on days like today.

So, after my dose of the Lifetime network I scavenged my brain and epicurious.com to find a dinner dish of inspiration. The only qualifications were cheap and of course made with butter. Some shallots, zucchini, peas, white wine, and of course parmesan cheese later, I created the perfect buttery pasta spring dish. Exactly what I needed to get rid of my no good very bad day.

"Delicious," I said, when asked how my dinner tasted. "Want to know what is in it?" Butter.

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