In most things that you do in life, there is a moment where you realize that the situation in hand is no more under your control. A moment where you submit yourself to higher powers of confusion and unpredictability who will chew up your work and spit out a result. I felt this in very obvious places: like in college, when you submit a semester long report that defines your grade for the class and then in some fairly new places: like finding a job.
Ever since high school, I have been the person who was always looking ahead. I always felt like the grass is greener just in front of me. In ninth, tenth looked great, in tenth eleventh looked amazing, in eleventh- I just didn’t want to be in school anymore. The same progression took place in college. All of freshmen year I thought about the summer, all summer I thought about sophomore year, but the summer between sophomore and junior years was when this progression took a halt. I soon realized that college will be over and I really needed to immerse myself in the day to day. Junior year was a time of stress, with being single for the first time in a long time; a best friend who was thousands of miles away drinking beer and apparently “studying” in Germany; and all these looming life decisions. Should I go to grad school or go get a job? If grad then what will I study? Plus, the added stress of taking standardized tests and writing essays (k, I love writing essays). If I get a job, then in what? Even thinking about this is giving me a tiny panic attack now. However, as time progressed the panic turned into understanding. It turned into constructive networking and finding leads.
Senior year was a blur. Between senior level classes, a year long thesis in biology, and job hunting (read: begging); every day was long. I was stressed but never overwhelmed. I knew that at the end of the day I can only do my best and the rest is up to the aforementioned higher power. I started applying to jobs in November of 2016 and I graduated in May 2017 with a 100 submitted applications, 7 interviews, and 2 incomplete offers due to my immigration status. I graduated with two degrees in my hand, two extremely proud parents, and no remorse of my situation. Why? Because if I had to do everything all over again, I really wouldn’t change anything much (probably would work out a little bit more). Because at the end of the day, I did everything that I could.
Making this carbonara felt like that. The dish is essentially pasta in a sauce made with eggs and cheese with some fatty cubes of smoked bacon and minced garlic. Once the bacon has rendered its fat and the garlic has released its aromatic notes as it bubbles in the liquid lard, we dump in the freshly rehydrated spaghetti with a touch of starchy, salty pasta water and stir until some of that heat has dissipated. This is when we add the eggs and cheese and mix well. The challenge though is that if you drop the egg when the food is too hot, you would scramble it and you won’t achieve the silky smoothness of a thin rich sauce. As the pasta was steaming while off the heat, I picked up egg mixture and just as I was about to pour, I stopped. That double take of stopping and rethinking my strategy transported me to every time I paused before pressing submit for every job application; just to say “there isn’t anything left under my control.”
Please like, share, comment, and more importantly, make this heavenly dish.
Serves: 2 bowls
150 grams of cooked spaghetti (retain one cup of pasta water)
150 grams of cubed smoked bacon (guanciale- pig cheek is the best kind of bacon to get)
2 large eggs plus 1 additional egg yolk
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of grated parmesan
1 tablespoon of ground pepper
2 teaspoons of olive oil
A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped coarsely
Salt to taste
Make your egg mixture. Take the eggs and cheese and whip them well. Add black pepper and red chili flakes for an extra kick.
Place a skillet on high heat, and olive oil and swirl. Add the bacon and let it cook. If you use cubes, let them cook for about 5 minutes or until they turn deep red and begin to crisp up. Add garlic on the fourth minute and let them cook until they turn aromatic and begin browning. Reduce the heat to low for the next step
Dump your spaghetti into the skillet and mix well. Add some pasta water and take the pan off the heat. Quickly add the egg mixture and mix vigorously, trying to expel as much of the latent steam. Taste for salt, add some parsley, and enjoy!