Growing up my mom always had the ingredients for spaghetti dinner in the kitchen.
- Boxed Spaghetti (white, because it was the 90’s and the whole wheat craze hadn’t swept the nation yet)
- Hunt’s Canned Traditional Pasta Sauce
- Frozen Garlic Bread (sometimes she got fancy and would spread garlic butter on a loaf of Italian bread from the bakery and pop it in the oven)
- Bag of salad from the produce section
- Meatballs (she was ambitious and always made her own which to this day I find impressive. I’ve been buying frozen meatballs for a solid four years now)
It isn’t the most glamorous meal but it is delicious and filling and as I’ve learned first-hand since college, the best part about spaghetti dinner is that it can be prepared in 15 minutes.
A couple weeks ago I was texting with a dear friend about the perils of listing and showing a house with small children and obnoxious dogs. It was a Thursday evening, it had been a long week for both of us, and both of our husbands were caught in some ugly traffic and weren’t expecting to be home until well-after dinner. She told me she was making spaghetti and meatballs and that Garrett and I were welcome to come over and join them.
Garrett hadn’t napped all day, I was an exhausted mess, and I knew we wouldn’t be showing up with Anne Landers approved dinner behavior. But it was still a good two hours from bedtime and I hadn’t started to make dinner. So I looked in my freezer and saw a box of Kroger 3-cheese frozen garlic bread. I texted her to preheat her oven to 425 and told her we’d be over in a few minutes.
She opened the door and had a baby strapped to her chest and a wooden spoon in her hand. I had Garrett on one hip and the diaper bag and box of frozen garlic bread tucked in the crook of my opposite arm. I saw her and started crying and laughing hormonal, pregnancy tears of exhaustion and she hugged me. She pointed out that her toddler was watching TV so that was how well her evening was going.
We talked about how crazy life was, ate spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and garlic bread. Our children screamed and cried and rubbed sweet potatoes in their hair. And when it was bath time I packed up Garrett and she corralled her kids and we parted ways.
It might not have seemed like much but that hour and a half made a huge difference in my week and evening.
Spaghetti and meatballs is one of the ultimate comfort meals but having a friend who makes it for you when you’re having a stormy week is even better.
Invite a friend over even when your house isn’t in perfect hosting condition. Say yes to an invitation even if you aren’t in perfect visiting condition. Laugh at each other’s stories of dog poop disasters minutes before house showings and toddler tantrums and be reminded that you aren’t in this alone.
And most importantly, keep the ingredients for spaghetti dinner in your kitchen. Always.