Welcome to For Your Consideration, a new series about things we love and love to do — and we’d like to give you permission to embrace your authentic self and love them too.
I. We’ve all heard of breakfast for dinner, but what about its lesser-acknowledged cousin: dinner for breakfast? Specifically, pasta for breakfast. I’m not talking a pasta that seems inherently breakfasty. I mean something like straight-up clam pasta for breakfast. Do you ever wake up and think “wow I could crush some lil clams swimming in a bed of linguine, lemon, white wine, butter, and parmesan right now?” Then do you stop yourself and say “it’s 9 a.m. you can’t eat clam pasta right now?” Well, I am here to tell you that you most certainly can. Cacio e pepe before noon? Hell yes. A little rise-and-shine tagliatelle with pork meatballs? Mac and cheese in the a.m.? You, my friend, can have it all. Breakfast is a social construct!!!!!
II. I like to be alone in the kitchen, just me and my ingredients and whatever memories and associations I’ve affixed to whatever I’m making. Making saag paneer reminds me of Chicago and of falling in love and of a red-orange couch that wasn’t very comfortable but I spent a lot of time on it anyway. Making fried chicken reminds me of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and a haunted house with peeling murals on its walls and The Good Wife.
III. Making clam pasta reminds me of my first apartment in Brooklyn. And of sunrises. (No wonder I crave clam pasta in the morning.)
IV. I don’t like to eat alone. I don’t like to cook for one, so I rarely do it. Even when I was Chronically Single in Chicago (future title of a shitty short story?), I cooked for my roommates, partially as a form of in-kind payment for the seven months they let me live with them for free. Partially because it’s the only way I know how to cook: for more than just myself.
1 box of pasta (linguine seems to be the standard, but I’ll use anything with strong sauce retention, like fusilli or rotini)
2 cans of chopped clams
1 chopped shallot
just a whole lot of chopped garlic (there can never be too much)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
1 splash of white wine
panko or breadcrumbs
red pepper flakes
cook the pasta
meanwhile, add butter, olive oil, the clams in their sauce, white wine, shallot, and garlic to a pan over medium heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes
combine the pasta and the sauce and top with panko/breadcrumbs, parmesan, and red pepper flakes
here’s a tip: buy the four-packs of canned clams every once in a while at the grocery store so you can have the clams on hand in your pantry, ready for the next time you wake up craving seafood and pasta.
VI. I used to follow recipes. I used to adhere to rigid structure when it comes to cooking, as I do with most things in life. But somewhere along the way, the kitchen became the one place where I let go, the one place where I didn’t crave rules. I started making multiple cuisines at once, started writing my own recipes and then quickly forgetting them in favor of a new twist. I also started making pasta for breakfast.
VII. When Cynthia Nixon ordered a cinnamon raisin bagel with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato, and onion the week of her (tragically) unsuccessful bid for New York’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, people lost their goddamn minds. Perhaps the haters collectively forgot about the long-established truth that a salty-sweet flavor combination excites the palate. Perhaps it was just a very meme-able moment. But *extremely Carrie Bradshaw voice* I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would police another person’s breakfast choices? We crave what we crave. And cravings are inherently irrepressible. Food preferences feel more intimate, more ingrained than anything like musical or movie tastes. It’s a preference that’s of the body.
VIII. Just eat whatever the fuck you want for breakfast.