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White Clam Sauce

That was what I was craving tonight: linguini and white clam sauce. But I didn’t want the canned crap that I usually buy and doctor. There are never, ever, enough clams in the canned stuff. It’s more like a tease.

I’ve tried to make my own from scratch before, but it always lacked one ingredient that I didn’t think really made a difference: white wine.

The reason is this: we’re not drinkers, so we don’t keep stuff like that on hand. While we’re not tee-totalers, we’re still a few steps below even being lightweights. Once every couple of years we may buy some Kahlua or Apple Pucker for me, and a bottle of Jack Daniels for the PIP, and those bottles will still be on top of the fridge a year later, still half full. It’s just never been our thing.

However, as the children have grown closer to their teenage years, which means constant fighting between the two of them, which drives both parents absolutely insane, we have begun to keep a bottle or two on hand at all times. We have made it up to lightweights. A glass of wine at dinner allows us to retain our sanity in the face of the ridiculous arguments our children have with each other, or to view their lack of motivation to do chores any better than half-assed with a bit more calm. We still wind up having to scream and holler to get things done properly, or to shut down the latest argument over who gets to use the slang term “swag”–unbelievable–but we do a lot less of it with a glass of wine in our systems.

Now, I don’t know from wine, here. I know what I like, and what I don’t. You will never hear me say anything about body or bouquet, or that this wine goes with that meal, because I don’t have the least clue. The only thing I know is what I once read from a chef: when a recipe calls for white wine, you buy a good drinking wine, because if it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with either. So the last time I bought wine–about a month or so ago–I bought one that I already knew I liked, and another bottle to try.

I didn’t like the second bottle at all. Couldn’t even get through one glass of it, so back it went into the fridge to await the time when there would be a recipe I could use it in. Apparently, I only like sweet wines, and this was bitter, at least to me.

So tonight it got used in the clam sauce recipe, and now I understand why wine is a requirement of the recipe. The difference it made!!!!!

Like I said, I had tried this recipe before, and it was mediocre at best when I did, because I didn’t use wine. But what I made tonight was far, far better! The house smelled heavenly, and the flavor–why bother with the noodles??! And it was full of clams–I made certain of that!!!

I did tweak the recipe a little bit. The only herb the recipe called for was parsley, but I am a huge fan of oregano, so my version was equal parts of both. And I added just a touch of lemon juice and some extra butter to mine.

Even the children could find no reason to complain, and that’s saying something. Both of them went through their bowls of pasta at lightspeed and left very little to wash out. An hour later they were wondering if there was more to be had. And I’m a terrible mother, because I lied to them and said no. I had plans of my own for the leftovers. Now that we have what are supposed to be nocturnal pets in the gliders (all seven now wake up around six am and are still up at eight pm!), my day begins at around 4 am, when I get up to prepare their food for them. I can’t usually get back to sleep afterward, so I get my own breakfast going then too, and that’s what was for breakfast.

In my defense, I have to say that there was only enough left to serve one person, and if I had given it to one of the children, the argument that followed would have driven me mad, so eating it myself was for my own sanity. After all, the PIP is allergic to all forms of seafood, so he couldn’t eat it, and I wasn’t about to throw it away!

I guess I have to thank the insanity of motherhood for actually having what I needed in the house for a change. Who knew I would ever have cause to thank my kids for driving me crazy?

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!

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