Thirty, Oneness of Self and Pasta

To those who tell you you're at your prime in your twenties,

You liars. 

Here is what will happen in your twenties.

You will wonder what you were thinking with that gold sequined tube top.

You will get mono from playing beer pong at a frat house. 

You will wish you never told your mother that you once ate a live goldfish for a can of Natural Light.

You will regret those pink suede pants. 

You will learn how to drink vodka in the shower and still graduate college with a 3.8.

You will then learn this 3.8 does not matter in grad school.   You will feel dumb reading Marx.  And you will realize that all that vodka probably didn’t help matters.

You will fret about not being married at twenty-six, twenty-seven, and twenty-eight. At twenty-nine you will stop caring.

You will come to understand that in order to be a good baker you have to measure things.

You will learn how to make a cake and you will think this will help you keep a man.  You will learn that homemade cakes can’t keep men.  And that thinking this way is stupid.

You will chronically worry about losing five pounds.  You will find that no one notices those five pounds but you.  And that the people that matter probably care more about how you treat strangers on the subway.

You will learn how to roast chicken.  How to kill cockroaches.  How to make friends with neighbors.  How to keep a rosemary plant alive.  And how to be happy in your skin, whatever that means.

This brings us to pasta, which is about as good a metaphor as any for all of this.  And it’s why I’m giving you my recipe without any instructions.  My pasta will be different than yours.

You may not form it in a food processor. You may not find it equally therapeutic listening to Bill Maher, Marc Maron, or The Splendid Table while you flatten your dough.  You may not hang it over mop shafts and broom handles.  You may not shape it into little nests and store it in your freezer.

Heck, you may not want to make any pasta at all.  How you get to whatever you eat will be unique to you. ¾ cup of flour to 1 egg is my recipe.  The rest is shaped by experience.  Whether it’s making tagliatelle or getting through your twenties, you can’t understand it until you’ve done it.  Mistakes and all.

So, yes, I turned thirty on October 1st.  And it finally feels like I have my rhythm.  My oneness of making pasta ... and of self.

Homemade Pasta

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg

This is a per person ratio.  Fill in the instructions as you wish.

-I  owe “oneness of self and pasta” to my professor, Carole Counihan.  She said it in class tonight and I must give credit where credit is due.  It was the missing link I needed to help bind this pasta post.  And she fits in beautifully. 

-I can’t remember where this pasta ratio originally came from.  But I know it’s been working for years.  I recognize it may be annoying that I don't list any instructions.  But the truth is that they probably wouldn't make much sense without spending time in my kitchen. 


  1. What a lovely post. Thank you.

  2. Happy belated birthday. I dreaded turning 30 but I am actually loving being in my thirties. Cheers to more years of having your own rhythm - and making lots of pasta :)

  3. Happy birthday. I can relate to pretty much all of those bullet points. I'm still 28, but yea, all true.

  4. Happy Birthday, Emily! Now that is a montage of life in your twenty-somethings! Thanks for that--it's very familiar. Glad you're feeling centred.

    And thanks for the reminder about homemade pasta. It's something I don't do often enough.

  5. Happy Birthday! I hope some dessert was enjoyed! I love the list of life lessons from your 20s. I bet if we each made our own list, we'd have some spectacular things to share. But figuring out how to be happy in your own skin...that's the best achievement of all. Just lovely.

  6. Happy belated birthday, Emily! I'll be turning 30 in May and I love the way you describe the experience and all the little realizations that you have along the way. I once heard (in a Soviet romantic comedy of all places) that life doesn't really begin until 40, so I guess things will just keep getting better and better. :)

  7. Happy birthday! It's totally birthday week at our house too--although I just turned 35. :) My 30s are great so far, and I bet yours will be too! Also: PASTA!

  8. I can't wait to read the post when menopause comes...still a good 30 years away. I'll be waiting...and reading.

  9. how lovely. you're gonna look back on this post and absolutely be giddy with delight. :)

  10. Thanks for all the birthday wishes ... here's to having a good year no matter what decade you're in!

  11. Lovely. If you know all this at 30, watch out world.