As a little tyke, my brother was a strict “breaditarian” (a self-imposed title). He, like many kids, dogmatically insisted that he only ate white foods; his menu of acceptable meals included bread, pasta, rice, chicken fingers, and a limited set of other items. Hot dogs were the only apparent exception to this rule.*
With such a narrow list of food likes, the options for eating out were slim. On the rare night that my parents did not muster the energy to cook or when my brother and I were alone with my dad and he didn’t whip up his famous breakfast for dinner special, we would hop in the car and head down the road to The Italian Village.
We did not go expecting fine dining, though as kids we did not distinguish between good and bad pasta anyway. We loved the excitement of being out for dinner, the predictability of the menu that was full of things we knew we liked, and the paper place mats waiting to be turned into works of art with the complementary crayons provided.
For my part, the tempting voice of lasagna always called out to me, but I found I liked the idea of it more than the reality. In my mind, lasagna should be a comforting bite of al dente pasta, creamy cheese, and flavorful sauce.
I occasionally took the leap and ordered The Italian Village’s version, but more often than not I was disappointed with the goopy mess of floppy noodles, stringy cheese, and bland sauce. As a result, I usually defaulted to the boring choice of ravioli with marinara sauce. Continue reading