Though no actual parasites were harmed or even used in the making of this blog post—or in the movie Parasite—I did manage to turn dinner into an extraordinarily creepy experience that will result in astronomically high therapy bills for everyone in my household, including the cat. But that’s just how I do “Valentine’s Day” in the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks house. I serve “parasites” (basil and cherry tomato spaghetti pasta) before seeing the movie Parasite with my family.
Nate and Alex don’t exactly protest. There isn’t time. The plan is already in place and moving too far along for them to do anything about it. The water is boiling, the spaghetti is slowly lowered into the pot, and the tickets are already bought. The words, “I’m making parasites for dinner! Happy Valentine’s Day!” have already spewed forth from my mouth.
Nate gives me a look that says, “Do you have to ruin everything?”
And I give him a smile that says, “You knew what you were getting yourself into when you asked me to marry you. I believe there were hints when we were dating. I thought this was WHY you asked me to marry you.”
Nate simply shrugs his shoulders, and I get back to work. Luckily, this dish doesn’t take long to prepare, and we are able to make it to the movie on time. Here is the recipe for Valentine’s Day Parasites (Basil and Cherry Tomato Spaghetti):
Ingredients: (feeds about 3 people)
–One 12-ounce box of spaghetti noodles
–5 ounces of cherry tomatoes chopped
–1/2 cup of roughly chopped basil
–1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
–sea salt to taste
–black pepper to taste
–1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (I only used one, but you can add up to two for a richer taste.)
–Heat a pot of salted water over high heat and boil the pasta for around 10 minutes. Save aside a quarter of a cup of the pasta water for later.
–Combine the basil, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl—mix well.
–Drain the pasta, except for about ¼ cup of the pasta water.
–Return the pasta to the pan and mix in the basil/tomato mixture—along with the pasta water.
–Serve with good Parmesan cheese.
Nate and Alex were silent when I placed the steaming plates of “parasites” before them. However, it didn’t take them long to devour every single bite. Soon, we were on our way to see the movie, which as I mentioned before, did not have any actual parasites in the form of tapeworms or Giardia or anything like that. The parasite is a metaphor in this movie, but a very effective one.
However, is Parasite an appropriate Valentine’s Day “family film?” I think so (depending on the ages of the children, of course. Alex is 17.). Before seeing this movie, a friend of mine on Facebook shared a review from someone who felt the need to get up and walk out of the theater because she was so disgusted by how terrible every single person in this movie was. She wanted a movie that showed that humanity was good and not ugly. Another friend of mine replied that she disagreed with this assessment. The point of the movie, according to this friend, was to make us “feel things”—and it was funny. I honestly agree. And, after seeing this film, I do see, at the heart of this movie, a story of love. The family at the center of Parasite love and support each other. In a way, they use their talents to help one another succeed. In fact, I was rooting for them and wanted them to get the house and comfort they longed for. Ultimately, I wanted to hug Nate and Alex tightly–and stay up late talking about Parasite over leftover plates of spaghetti.
Your Turn: Do you ever have a dinner-and-a movie night at home or out on the town? What is your favorite memory of a dinner-and-a-movie-night?