getting the point..



I blame my abiding prejudice against fresh pasta on the world wide television coverage  of the spaghetti harvest of 1957 . The sight of those vermicular strands, hanging limply from the branches in the unusually monochomatic region of the Ticino has remained embedded in the not so dark recesses of my mind. Because of this, on entering a pasticerria, I am immune to the temptation posed by the serried ranks of trays piled high with carefully formed serpentine coils of pappardelle, linguine and tagliatelle, all freshly cut from the tree. The choice between the fresca and the secca is as clear to me as the finely cut edge of the penne in the picture. The penne having dropped, I can now confess to having written this bollocks because I had found a similarity between the nib like pasta tube and a feather quill whilst I was making a particularly good and simple pasta dish with that very same pasta.


This is a comforting dish which is not a comforting term. It is, in truth, a very annoying term as are most terms that describe the pleasure that we take in the taste of good food which is because of our failure to instantly pluck suitable vocabulary from the ether and which is why I so often have recourse to profanity, whose origins are steeped in pleasure, to press home to the reader just how much enjoyment such and such a mouthful has afforded me. I found this recipe on the blog of the food writer, Rachel Roddy; on the day in question the larder was very nearly bare but I happened to have a lone aubergine that was clearly waiting for the opportunity to impress. Even at those moments when my larder is in that state of undress there is always olive oil, tomatoes, onions and garlic…and coffee….so the aubergine had friends with whom it could combine in its efforts to impress. The dish that I made and which features in the picture above is not identical to the recipe that you will find in the link to Rachel Roddy’s blog; recipes such as this are but a guide, not an instruction manual. The flavours of this simple pasta and vegetable dish perfectly complemented the moment when I ate it in the shade of one of our olive trees, laden with fruit, in the early September sun…a sunlight which warms when one is directly in the path of its rays but, should one stray into the shade, it becomes instantly clear that the residual heat of summer sun, to which one has become pleasantly accustomed,  has stealthily departed leaving one in no doubt that change is upon us.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2015, aubergine, Cookery Writers, Cooking, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Humour, Italian food, Mediterranean food, pasta, Photography, Rachel Roddy, summer, tomatoes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to getting the point..

  1. MELewis says:

    *The penne having dropped* A punster after my own art! 🙂 Bon appétit…

  2. Conor Bofin says:

    Somebody has to ask, so it may as well be me. What lens did you use to shoot the penne?

  3. Mad Dog says:

    I’ve always been a little worried by the fact that pene, in Italian and Spanish (to the non native speaker is pronounced similarly to penne), means penis! You don’t want to mispronounce that to the girl in the supermarket. She might get the point Zabriskie.
    I blame the BBC 😉

    • The slang for knob in French is “bite” (pronounced “beet”) which always makes me laugh when French people speaking English ask for a “leetle beet”:)

      • Mad Dog says:

        Ha ha – je sais …and there’s a phrase that goes with bite that the hookers used to say to me when I lived on Rue St. Denis…

      • I had no idea, MD, that you lived on the rue St.Denis….! Top choice ….I was just looking at a production still of Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon in the rue St.Denis when they were shooting “Irma la Douce” in 1963…the year of my first teenage visit to Paris…alone:)

      • Mad Dog says:

        Wow! I wish I’d lived there then. I never got to see the old Les Halles. Rungis market is impressive, but it lacks character and is so far out of Paris.

  4. Eha says:

    We both seem to be drawn by the name ‘Rachel’ 🙂 ! Have admired Rachel Roddy’s wonderfully written vignettes from Rome for years and Rachel Khoo of course is another chef and writer from the UK who has become a household name Down Under and practically a Melbourne gal . . . Which reminds me I still have not gotten the first Rachel’s recently published book . . .

    • For some reason I have only recently come across Rachel Roddy’s writing…which I like immensely.

      • Eha says:

        Not at all surprised! Besides wide general knowledge you two are probably the most talented and interesting writers in the blogosphere – well, mine at least 🙂 ! Glad you have ‘met’: Rachel’s Roman market excursions and other wanderings really take me back to one of my favourite places in the world and not as a ‘tourist’ . . . and her small bilingual son Luca is a deliciously ‘naughty’ delight . . .

      • I’ve never been to Rome and my travels in Italy have been very limited….which is something I hope to change over the coming years…and I agree completely with you on the seductive atmosphere that Rachel creates in her writing about her life in Rome and Sicily..

  5. “olive oil, tomatoes, onions and garlic …” ~ the staples of life + aubergine = le sigh

  6. Ha ha, was talking about the BBC Spaghetti Harvest April Fool’s the other day to someone. And Mad got in there before me with the Italian “pene” – always used to have my dad in hysterics when folk tried to show off in his restaurants ordering “a plate of your lovely penises with that special sauce of yours”! Beautiful shot – who’d have thought a little piece of dried pasta could look quite so fabuous 🙂

  7. That was a great April Fool’s Hoax. And this recipe does the trick. 🙂

  8. Hadn’t seen the spaghetti harvest video before- it’s fantastic

  9. Enchanting writing and story as always. Happy September in France.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.