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I just want mac n' cheese so here are some fun facts about my mom's iconic summer pasta salad i guess

by Kathryn Milewski 2 months ago in cuisine · updated 2 months ago
Runner-Up in Summer Camp ChallengeRunner-Up in Summer Camp Challenge
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From a very hungry girl who likes noodles in all shapes and sizes.

Did somebody say three free boxes of mac n' cheese just for entering a Vocal challenge?!?!

Oh boy! Is this Christmas or summer? I can't tell. To paraphrase Marlon Brando in The Godfather, this is a damn good offer I can't refuse. Just like Vito Corleone in the first movie of the trilogy, I want to firmly shake BOTH HANDS of the genius who thought of this brilliant idea. You've literally made me come out of a Vocal blogging hiatus just for this challenge. Thank you. Honor on you, honor on your cow, honor on the mac n' cheese company sponsoring this shindig. You've made this mac n' cheese lovin' girl very happy.

But wait. In order to obtain the boxes of mac n' cheese, I need to write a story about my favorite summer food first. There's always a catch, isn't there? Ugh. This is difficult, as I have many favorites: corn on the cob, s'mores, hot dogs, ice cream. Oh wait. I eat ice cream any time of year. (It's hard being an addict.)

Okay. Well, since she made a big bowl of it yesterday and I was lucky enough to take pictures of it...

*cough, this story was totally candid and unplanned and I didn't pray to the food gods beforehand hoping she would casually make this dish before the challenge's due date cough cough*

...I guess I'll just have to resort to writing about my mom's iconic summer pasta salad.

My mortal mother holding the summer food of the gods.

Yes, you see that big bowl of tri-color noodle-y goodness my beautiful mother is cradling in her hands like a newborn baby? I guess you can say it's just like Camp Mac N' Cheese, just without the cheese and with added onions, carrots, red peppers, and a little somethin' somethin' seasoning that makes it oh-so delicious.

I could write paragraphs about my mom's summer pasta salad and its origins, how to make it, all the times I've eaten it with my family, the majesty of tri-color pasta and why everyone should eat tri-color pasta during the summer months yada yada yada yaaaaaaaaawn.

Okay, you know what? You want to know why this summer pasta salad you can only see and not taste is better than pure gold. And I want my three free boxes of plant-based mac n' cheese as quickly as I can get them.

So, I'm going to write this Vocal article the quick and dirty way: with a list of 5 totally true and not-fabricated-at-all fun facts that will make you say "mmm mmm, wow!" to my mom's pasta salad.

You ready? Let's begin.

1. The key to my mother's pasta salad is the aforementioned seasoning.

The thing is, the seasoning is a secret recipe. Even I do not know what it is, although eventually I will learn since my mother has to pass down the family recipe before she perishes.

Some believe it is made from the ashes of shooting stars crashed down to earth. Others think it is simply the warmth of my mother's personality manifested into poppy seeds and sesame-like flakes. Gordon Ramsay believes it was created with the help of Emeril Lagasse. Emeril Lagasse believes it was created with the help of Gordon Ramsay. Rachael Ray knows both of those tools are ridiculous and my strong independent mama don't need no man chef to make the best goddamn seasoning on the planet.

Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?

2. My mother only makes her famous pasta salad during June, July, and August.

This is because the dish is so refreshing on a warm summer's day, it has the same cooling power in one bowl as a cannonball into a swimming pool or ten oscillating pedestal fans set to full blast. You just can't consume that in the brisk fall, freezing winter, or slightly-chilly spring. It's unnatural.

Additionally, my mother loves to break out the pasta salad on the Fourth of July. This is because consuming a forkful of summer pasta salad makes the eater see fireworks in their head. No, it's not psychoactive drugs. No LSD. It's just the magic of pure love and good cooking. That's why the pasta salad is so colorful: it's got firecracker sorcery!

3. One time, we left a bowl of Mom's pasta salad out in our backyard for the forest animals to consume.

The results were rather shocking.

We noticed that after gobbling up the tri-colored goodness, birds began whistling Louis Armstrong songs, particularly the 1989 classic "What a Wonderful World". A squirrel took some of the salad, tossing it in with a bowl of acorns before serving the concoction to its young. Nocturnal raccoons made appearances during the daytime in order to try the dish, even flashing my family peace signs with their tiny mammal fingers while nibbling on peppers and onions. Deer managed to catapult themselves over our huge white picket fence like Olympic pole vaulters just to get a taste of the pasta salad. And of course, the family of groundhogs that often visit our yard were smart and hoarded the rest of the colorful noodles for themselves.

We also learned from locals that one particular turkey vulture tasted the salad and had a magical transformation. If you've read one of my previous Vocal articles, you know there is a mysterious peacock that wanders around my small town of Bayville, New Jersey. His name is Mr. Peabody, and his origins are unknown - particularly because peacocks are not native to Bayville. So yeah, the townsfolk believe my mom's colorful pasta salad turned the turkey vulture's boring brown feathers into shimmering green and blue ones, like something out of a fairytale. Are they wrong? I don't think so.

This belongs on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens.

4. Some believe my mother made a deal with the Jersey Devil so her pasta salad would taste so good.

For context, we live in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the whole "Jersey Devil" myth originates. Similar to how they believe a turkey vulture turned into a peacock, some locals also believe my mother's tri-color pasta salad is so good because she made a deal with the Jersey Devil.

Now, typically when making any kind of deal with a devil - either THE devil or the Jersey Devil - you usually give up your soul in order to attain whatever wish you desire. I can't say my mom is soulless, as my friends have always preferred talking to her more than they do talking to me (I'm not even joking about that). So I think she probably sacrificed either my soul or my brother's soul in exchange for pasta salad success. Maybe both of our souls? It would explain why we're both really anxious and pessimistic all the time. And why we're not good at making pasta salad ourselves.

Honestly, I wouldn't even be mad at Mom if she did give my soul to the Jersey Devil. Her pasta salad is far more important than my pathetic twenty-something life. What am I? A Vocal blogger and a D-list actress? Mom's pasta salad probably has the ability to cure cancer...it just hasn't been tested yet.

5. Eating my mother's pasta salad changes you as a person.

No but seriously: eating a bowlful of Mom’s pasta salad will rewire the innards of your brain or something. And I mean that in a good way. Mom's pasta salad = a dump truck of serotonin.

Here's a good example. My grandfather came over to our house yesterday to celebrate Father's Day. He's a complainer. Always has been. Trust me - we love him to death. But his main personality trait is complaining. He enjoys complaining about the weather, about the latest game the Yankees lost, about politics, his slow-growing garden, how little crabs there are in the bay...he'll complain about anything. It may be annoying to the layperson, but because we're used to it, his complaining is actually very endearing. It's how we know he's still alive on the inside.

Anyways, he came over to our house for Father's Day yesterday and was served some of my mother's pasta salad. What would normally be a family dinner full of his aggravated observations became an oddly silent feast.

"Wow, everyone's so quiet today," my mom even remarked. "Must be a good meal."

Yes, Mom's pasta salad is so good, the taste of it made my prattling grandfather hushed for once. He didn't complain about one thing for the rest of the evening. It was so out of character for him. But also very pleasant. As they say, silence is golden. Mom's pasta salad is golden, and green, and orange, and red. And it's a magical mood booster.

While I can't say I complain as much as my grandfather, I can say that Mom's summer pasta salad has turned some of my worst days into the best. It's warmer than the burning sun, more relaxing than a beach day, and just as fun as going to a waterpark with your best friend.

Y'know that scene in Ratatouille when Anton Ego the food critic tastes Remy's dish and has that whole flashback, transformative experience thing? He enters Gusteau's as a semi-jerk and metaphorically reconnects with his inner child?

THAT'S my mom's pasta salad.

A more valuable treasure than the Ark of the Covenant, Holy Grail, or Crystal Skulls. Indiana Jones would be lucky to put this pasta salad in a museum.

And those are my five totally true fun facts about Mom's summer tri-color pasta salad. I hope these morsels of knowledge - as well as my expert food photography skills - made your mouth water. It's the least I can do for my mother. I mean, if it weren't for her, I wouldn't be able to experience the beauty of summer food in the first place.

I love you, Mom. <3

NOW GIMME MY MAC N' CHEESE!

AUTHOR'S NOTES

Lol this is my second time submitting this challenge entry because apparently there was a technical issue with my story? The Vocal Team made me copy and paste this whole thing all over again. Hopefully this story is still eligible for the Camp challenge. Maybe the judges will give me more points for extra effort? (Pretty please? Haha)

Anyways, sorry I've been slow to post things lately. Entering challenges has been my way of trying to get back into blogging on here. These last five months have been some of the busiest of my whole life. Fortunately, it means I have a lot to share with you. And things are finally slowing down a bit. I'm excited to publish some interesting new content soon. :)

Likes, tips, comments, etc. are all greatly appreciated. Give me a follow to stay updated on whatever I'm writing next. And of course, make sure to follow me on Instagram @katyisaladybug if you'd like to see my life outside of Vocal.

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

-Katy

cuisine

About the author

Kathryn Milewski

Insta: @katyisaladybug

Also a blogger at Live365.com

Playlists, memoirs, and other wacky pieces.

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Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

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Comments (9)

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  • Connor Davies 6 days ago

    Until I got hungry

  • Madoka Moriabout a month ago

    If they awarded prizes based on title alone then this would have been an easy first place. Loved it!

  • Sarah 2 months ago

    loved this so much !!!

  • P. M. Starr2 months ago

    Also, I was stoked by your overt reference to the lure of the mac & cheese reward being a major motivator (I meant to build that into mine but ran out of time & wouldn't have been as fun as yours, but you demonstrated how it could be done effectiviley without reading like a copout). Your writing & humor feels effortless; I laughed the most over the soul exchange.

  • P. M. Starr2 months ago

    You just made me notice FUNNY needs to be added to vocal insights options wink😜

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Fantastic story!! Comfort food and mom a winning combination! Congratulations on Top Story!!!👏💖😊💕

  • E.L. Martin2 months ago

    I LOVE this! So well done plus extra with the comedy! *Applause!*

  • Navin Kumar das2 months ago

    i love macaroni

  • Call Me Les2 months ago

    Loved this. At least you can earn the boxes! This mac n' cheese loving canuck is wistfully looking over from across the border. (Well, when the KD isn't glaring me down from my pantry for my infidelity...)

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