I used to think of pasta and rice as staples—that is, the basic food of a meal to put everything else around. Over the years I’ve decreased the pasta, rice, and other staples in favor of vegetables. Now that I see restaurants’ goals less to healthily nourish you and more to entertain your mouth and eyes, I see so-called staples as ways to increase their profit at the expense of your health. I want more vegetables and they want to give me less.
Here is a visual tour of my view of how we mature, in pasta.
Like many, I liked Spaghettios as a kid. Sweet and hardly any substance. More marketing gimmick than food, I’d say.
They don’t look that much more appetizing outside the can:
Some kids’ parents give them pasta with ketchup. In fact, the family I lived with in France did that, undermining my understanding that French didn’t like ketchup. If I hadn’t just shown the Spaghettios, I wouldn’t have thought spaghetti and ketchup could be more appetizing than something, but it seems a step up.
At some point you graduate to something with less corn syrup, but still mostly just red sauce. This picture looks more appetizing than the jarred stuff I put on pasta through graduate school at least, but it looks close anyway. It’s almost only pasta.
Actually, I take back “until graduate school.” In college I had already started putting vegetables on my pasta. I’d fry them with garlic and onions, then pour the jarred tomato sauce on. That’s more than just a bit of sauce for flavor. This picture doesn’t show tomato sauce, but basing the sauciness on oil seems about the same.
Owning a home, living in the same place for a while, having people at work depending on me led me to mature my pasta too. My ratio of vegetables to pasta steadily increased over the years.
When I mostly cut out foods where fiber was removed, I moved to almost only vegetables—to the point where I almost had no pasta at all, like so:
Now picking up my farm share of vegetables each week, I don’t even get pasta. I haven’t bought any since my experiment not buying food where I had to throw away packaging after. I mostly think about vegetables. I’ve increased how much I eat beans and nuts a lot. I tend to steam them and make soups out of them more than fry them, like this picture shows, because it’s easier.
And that’s how I represent a person’s maturation in life, through pasta. I like how I eat now a lot more than Spaghettios, which seem more like something a conglomerate does at you more than food. Today’s food tastes better and makes me less fat.
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees