Going Beyond Mac n’ Cheese

Teach your kids to make REAL pasta

If you grew up in the U.S., you are entirely forgiven for thinking pasta was invented by Chef Boyardee and only comes in two shapes: Spaghetti-O and stegosaur.

But things will be different for your kids. Because you’re about to teach them how to make their own pasta.

All you need is the Pasta Maker bundle that we’re eager to drop off at your house, and the ability to read the following words.

Research

Before you get started making your own noodles together, why not introduce your little ones to the real thing first? LA has an wealth of restaurants where pasta is made by hand in an endless array of shapes.

Eataly is family-friendly and endlessly explorable. Uovo is straight delicious, even importing much of its pasta from Bologna, where it’s made by expert hands. Felix is... probably not for your kids, but really good.

Anyway, how dare you suggest that we’re just giving you a great excuse to eat a lot of good pasta under the guise of family bonding? We would never.

Roll your own

Remember that pasta maker we told you about? It is real and will give you high-quality noodles in 20 minutes or less. It also comes with an e-recipe book and drying rack. To watch your noodles mature.. or bloom... or do whatever noodles do on a drying rack. Right, dry.

You’ll also get a dough scraper, justifying your high school student body’s collective decision to elect you the person who is most likely to acquire a dough scraper in life.

The long and short of it: all you really need are eggs, flour and water once you have the bundle. You stick everything into the machine, press a button or two and like a Play-Doh Fun Factory, watch the noodles magically come out amid much joy and elation between you, your kids and the person you’ve promised to sleep with for the rest of your natural life.

Make dinner

Once those noodles are dry enough for cooking, you’ll plop them in boiling water, ideally whip up a sauce (or not ideally pour one from a jar bearing Paul Newman’s face) and set the table with your kids using extremely exaggerated and unfairly stereotypical Italian accents. Everyone in the family should have a role. Junior can be the cheese-grater. Dad can set the table. Sis will be in charge of fresh herbs. And mom will do some drinking.

Speaking of which...

You’ll be drinking wine. The adults, that is, not the kids. This isn’t real Italy just because you made noodles.

Anyway, you want to set a good example for your offspring when it comes to drinking. Pairing a little vino with your meal could put alcohol into a proper context. You’re not guzzling scotch the second you come home, but complimenting your meal with a harmonious and cultivated adult libation that helps balance out the food’s best qualities. You can spout off all of your wine knowledge even, showing them what an intellectual pursuit drinking with dinner can be.

Of course, once the little ones are sleeping off all those carbs, let ‘er rip. That Four Loko isn’t going to drink itself.

Cleaning up

Here’s another opportunity to teach a lesson without it feeling like one. Put on some music and assign everyone a role, from clearing the table to rinsing off dishes to putting things away. The work will go by quicker and your kids will come to see cleaning up as a fun shared family activity rather than a chore.

Or they will do an intentionally terrible job so you never ask for their help again so they can go play Fortnite without being bothered.

You really never know what you’ve got there until they’re done with college.