Why I Have A Rocky Relationship With Lasagna

I have a rocky history with lasagna. I liked it when I was young but I had an episode at 16 that put me off it. When I was a punky teen, with pink hair and green Doc Martens, my parents bravely allowed me to drive from suburbia to downtown Chicago to go dancing at an all-ages club called Medusa’s nearly every weekend. If you were 17 or older you could stay until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Naturally I had a fake ID that said I was 17. (For the record that’s the only fake ID I’ve ever owned.)

I got home one night, very late and euphoric (no, that does not translate to drunk) from dancing. I was ravenous and found a glistening tray of something covered with tin foil in the fridge. Lasagna! I made myself a plate, ate it in bed and crashed.

It was a troubled sleep. It felt as if the lasagna had made it about one inch down my esophagus and stuck there. Except there was also a ton of stomach rumbling.

I woke the next "morning" around noon, telling my mom that was the grossest lasagna she’d ever made. Her face paled.

Her: Did you eat the lasagna last night?

Me: Yes.

Her: It’s not cooked yet. It got late; I got tired and stuck it in the fridge. I was going to bake it today for dinner.

Me: Bleccchhh!

I didn’t eat lasagna again for years. But that fact didn’t stop me from trying to make it for Dan when we first got together. I was working as a rock-‘n-roll catering girl at the time and I had a huge tub of ricotta cheese leftover from a gig. I knew I could kill it quickly by making some lasagna so I went to the store and bought everything else I needed. I worked recipe free; I was a hotshot like that. Remember, at this point I have not eaten lasagna for 10 years.

I get home with all the stuff, make the lasagna and when I pull it out of the oven it’s lovely. Success! A little later I went to the fridge to get something, and the stinkin’ ricotta is sitting on the shelf next to the milk. I’d forgotten to add it because everything else had been in the shopping bag.

Being me, I didn’t let this minor detail get me down. I took the ricotta and thinned it with some tomato sauce in a big bowl. Then I filled the turkey baster with this magic mix, jammed it past the crusty cheese layer and SQUEEZED. Some of the ricotta mix went into the lasagna but a great deal of it splatted out onto me … and the surrounding stovetop and walls. But I continued until the ricotta was gone; like 100 turkey bastings later. The top of this lasagna looked like the surface of the moon, if the moon consisted of cheese, noodle, ricotta and tomato. It was terrifying and yet my tenacity to get it done pleases me to this day. Dan died laughing when he saw it. But he ate it. He knew what was best for him.

Since then I’ve made a million successful lasagnas, always remembering the ricotta. I make them for Dan; I still don’t eat lasagna. I just can’t.

What does any of this have to do with gardening? I made lasagna this week from portobello mushrooms grown on one of those kits you can get. Dan’s co-worker grew these for us but now we’re going to grow our own!

See, I told you I’d wrap it up nice and tight. Ever grown your own mushrooms? Ever gone mushroom hunting? I have, that’s a whole other post, trust me. Let’s talk mushrooms in the forum.

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About Amanda Thomsen

Big, loud and fun- Amanda Thomsen landscapes by day and blogs at night. Her blog, Kiss My Aster, on Horticulture magazine's website has alienated/enraptured dozens. She co-authors a blog called Plants That Suck that is about plants that suck. And she is the less popular half of the podcasting team, Good Enough Gardening, which makes her feel like the "Roy" of of Siegfried and Roy, but without the mauling. She lives in Chicago and does not EVER put ketchup on hot dogs.

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