Normal Is Overrated

Musings and meanderings on the autistic spectrum

April 12, 2009

Noodly executive functioning

So, at my Aspie support group meeting last week, I finally learned how to cook spaghetti on my own. It was actually a lot simpler than I thought it’d be, and there was very little room for me to accidentally scald myself (something that has happened before in other attempts at cooking).

And I was ready to cook some for myself tonight, since I figured most restaurants would probably be closed for Easter. I’d already gotten spaghetti noodles and sauce at the store; I’d already checked to make sure I had a pot to cook it in; I thought I was ready.

Some of you probably see the issue already.

I remembered to check if I had a pot to cook it in. As I realized this evening, however, I forgot to check whether I had a colander to pour it in afterward. Which, of course, it turns out that I didn’t.

So much for that plan.

And it’s not as if I can go to the store to get one today, since (1) none of the stores are on the Sunday bus route, and (2) they’re probably closed for Easter anyway.

Guess I’ll be seeing which restaurants are open downtown; there’s bound to be one, at least…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:08 pm


  1. That reminds me of the time I forgot to check if I had any sauce … and didn’t realize that I didn’t until I’d already started cooking the noodles.

    Comment by Paper Hand — April 12, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

  2. Spaghetti can also be scooped out of the water with a slotted spoon, salad tongs, or (if you are good with them) a pair of chopsticks. The water can be poured through a funnel, which should catch most of the spaghetti, or the whole mess can be poured into a lidded plastic container and the lid cracked to let the water out. Spaghetti can also be poured into a plastic mesh basket, or (if you are careful not to get the edge wet) into a cloth bag.

    Oh, and don’t forget to pick up cheese next time you try the spaghetti thing. Very good on top of the sauce.

    Uhh… what makes you think I’ve forgotten to buy strainers before? Really!? 😉

    Comment by chaoticidealism — April 12, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

  3. @chaoticidealism: Ooh, I like the ‘lidded plastic container’ idea. Seems to be the one that would result in the fewest noodles getting dropped; I can just see myself trying to scoop the noodles out with a spoon and having them fall all over the place. (Have I mentioned that I’m a complete and utter klutz?)

    Of course, the other reason is that I don’t have most of the other stuff you’ve mentioned here in my apartment, other than a (non-slotted) spoon and a plastic container… this is the problem faced by someone who’s just now learning to cook.

    Comment by codeman38 — April 12, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  4. If the pot is small enough to pick up and hold over the sink, you can just pour the water carefully into the sink, using your non-slotted spoon to hold the spaghetti in the pot while you are pouring out the water.

    (I have to confess, I do that sometimes when I am too lazy to bother with the colander.)

    Comment by abfh — April 12, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

  5. @abfh: Hm. That might work, assuming I can actually coordinate the action of pouring the water out while holding the spaghetti in with the spoon– which, given my clumsiness, isn’t a guarantee!

    Comment by codeman38 — April 12, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  6. Hi Cody,

    As someone who didn’t ever cook for himself until he was about 35, let me share some tips. Use a 2 quart pot for boiling the water and spaghetti. Assuming you’re not a vegetarian, you’ll enjoy some hamburger mixed in with the sauce. And yes, it’s best to have a colander handy.

    Fill the pot 2/3 full of water, and set it on high heat. At the same time, start the hamburger (about 3 or 4 ounces) in a frying pan. If you like, you can add a little minced garlic. Give it a few minutes, turn it over, give it a few more minutes, then use a spatula to chop it into little pieces. (I don’t bother with meatballs, I’m not Italian.) In the meantime, the water will have started to boil, and you can add the spaghetti. (One portion being about as thick as your thumb.) You could just break the spaghetti in half, but if you want to roll it with a fork on your spoon, you’ll have to slowly coax it into the pot, bending it in. (I use a spatula for that.) When the hamburger is cooked, add a cup of sauce to the frying pan, and turn it down to low heat. The pasta will take about 10 minutes to get ready, always test a piece for chewability. Hold the colander over the sink, and pour the pasta into it. Blow on it, wait for the steam to leave, as you don’t want your spaghetti to be too wet. Then pour it onto your plate, and add the sauce and burger. Add grated cheese, if desired.

    Another thing is, you can make spaghetti *without* meat or sauce, but just add in some broccoli crowns while the pasta is boiling. When cooked, you pour this into the colander, then put it back in the pot and add a tablespoon of margarine and stir. Then put it on your plate, and add grated cheese. This is a nice little meal in the summer, when it’s hot out, and you don’t want that “heavy” feeling.

    Comment by Clay — April 13, 2009 @ 3:26 am

  7. To elaborate just a bit on Clay’s tips, if you are going to cook meat and add it to the sauce, you’ll need to be careful that you are using plain marinara or some other kind of sauce that goes well with added meat.

    Be careful not to add meat to a sauce that is already meat-flavored — that would not taste good at all.

    Comment by abfh — April 13, 2009 @ 9:13 am

  8. Right, I use Ragu – with mushrooms! Oh! and use a plastic spatula,
    so you don’t damage the non-stick coating on the pan.

    Comment by Clay — April 13, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  9. You can also use a tennis racket, as demonstrated starting at 1:15 in this trailer

    Comment by VAB — April 13, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

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