A few simple truths have guided me in my general parenting principles: a) everyone is happier when they’ve eaten. b) everyone sleeps better after a bath.

The first one is a gimme, but sometimes it goes without saying that you need to keep a spare bag of raisins in the diaper bag and always take a banana with you when you go places where you can’t devote 100% of your attention to your child (such as, like this morning, the doctor’s office).

However, the bathing thing came unto realization more recently. My mother-in-law led me this way when we were having baths before bed… “it gets the wrinkles out” she said. I know my levels of comfort increase dramatically after a good soak and the same is true of my kiddos.

Turns out, the same is true for your whole wheat carbohydrates. Who knew?

I was first turned on to the concept when I was trying to master beans and rice (still a work in progress). I read in The Art of Simple Cooking (recommend!) that you should rinse the rice and run it through your hands until the water turns all cloudy. Drain, then add the appropriate amount of cooking water. Guess what?! No more crunchy, chewy rice. It was light and fluffy like a pillowy cloud. Then I randomly bought a bag of barley on sale (don’t ask, I have no idea), but I tossed it in my vegetable soup following a similar procedure: success!!

Today’s magic dish was a whole wheat pasta with homemade pesto (thank you KLR), sundried tomatoes, and the last of last week’s roasted chicken. The water was just starting to boil when I saw a cloudy residue. Quick! I thought. To the sink! We must rinse! 

After such a close call we got that water boiled (whew, I lead a rousing life), topped it with delicious pasta coverings, and the chewy-factor that typically accompanies a whole wheat pasta- even after boiling it to a near lifeless pulp- had vanished. I had the bowl inhaled in 5.2 seconds.

And to you who are sitting there saying to yourselves, “well, of course you rinse pasta before you boil it” I say, WHAT KIND OF FRIEND ARE YOU ANYWAY? You didn’t tell me these things as I’ve ranted about my failures as a pasta boiler. You even sat idle as I recapped my lost arguments with husband over the virtue of whole wheat pasta over the white. Shame. Shame on you for keeping me in my ignorant state.

As for me, it’s time to make a vat of spaghetti. When you’ve got a skill, flaunt it- right?

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