Thursday, 1 December 2011

Perfection is a dream

I think sometimes about what people imagine goes on at my place.

I wonder if they imagine a pristine & silent place.

Or if they know it is a place of happy noise and chaos.

I wonder if they imagine me serving a gourmet meal to a table of perfectly groomed and well behaved boys who eat everything I serve.

Or if they know that a lot of the time I will be serving weet-bix to a straggling crowd of begraggled and noisy boys.

I wonder if they imagine that I wash the sheets on Thursdays every week.

Or if they know that I am lucky to ever actually get to the sheets after the umpteen other loads that need attention first.

I wonder if they imagine that I have a calender where I have everything written down that I need to remember.

Or if they know that I forget lots of things as I am lucky to even get the time to write in my calendar let alone look at it.

I wonder if they imagine that my house is kept tidy and ordered and that when the kids ask for something I will know exactly where it is.

Or if they know that my house is a home and not a showpiece and so along with that comes mess and a disshevelled order and that I can dream up a million other things to do other than housework.  And that some days I truly dream of being one of those super neat freaks (and i am guessing that Hubs might just dream of me being one of those too)....and then I wake up from my daydream and remember I am me! And Hubs comes home to the same gal he fell in love with a hundred million years ago.

I wonder if they imagine that I am level headed ALL the time and speak softly and lovingly to my children all the time.

Or if they know that I lose it too.  When the constant demands on me become overwhelming and I am drowning in doing everything for everyone. ALL. THE. TIME.  And that shouty mumma gets let out.  And that very soon after regretty mumma makes an appearance , embarrassed at her childish behaviour.

I wonder if they imagine that I love what I do all the time.

Or if they know that like every single person on the planet I have days where I think a million other people would be better at my job than I am.

We all set an idea of PERFECTION.

What it looks like.

How we achieve it.

But on those days when I give myself a hard time about not doing a very good job, I try to remember what I tell my kids ALL the time.

Perfection is a non-reality.

It is something imagined.

Something dreamed up.

Something unachievable.

It is ok to  drop your bundle.

It is ok to not be doing a great job all the time.

It is ok to not cope with everything all the time.

It is ok.

It really is.

This is one of the QUICKEST and BESTEST meals to serve when you have dropped your bundle and serving weet-bix AGAIN seems a bit much! Or at any other time. It is incredibly nutritious and delicious.
My kids all LOVE it.
If your kids like Garlic Bread they will love this.  Us grown ups love it too.
It is a gorgeously simple Pasta dish that's origins I have read to be either from the Naples or the Abruzzo region of Italy- it is quite probable like all regional cuisine that there are varieties for each region.  
Variations include the addition of chilli, anchovy fillets or sometimes fennel seeds.
It is a classic example of simple is best!
The rule of thumb for pasta portions is 100g per person.  
Make the sauce about 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked and transfer the pasta into the cooking pan with a ladleful of the water and cook in the sauce for the last 2 minutes of the cooking time.  This is true of most pasta dishes. The pasta absorbs the sauce and it makes for a more delicious meal.
This recipe is for 4.

  •  5 tblspoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped extra fine.
  • S & P
  • parmesan or pecorino cheese to grate.
On a medium heat in a nonstick fry pan heat EVOO until warm.  Add garlic.
Fry gently for about a minute- just long enough to be fragrant. It is VERY important not to burn the garlic as it will be very bitter.
Add the parsley.
Add S & P.
Stir through.

Transfer pasta into the frypan and cook through for last 2 minutes of cooking time.

Serve with grated cheese.

And today's listening pleasure is a favourite of mine from way back. Just perfect to cook too, to dance in the kitchen to or to eat to. My family love him. Hubster and I watched an amazing doco on him probably over ten years ago now. It was love at first listen.  We passed on the doco to our extended family who all fell in love as we did..... An amazing man- Ladies and Gentleman please meet Mr.Paolo Conte. 


  1. Actually I imagine your house to be perfectly chaotic, filled with love and fabulousness. That's my idea of ideal x

  2. I can not tell you how just how much I love this post, or just how much I needed to read it today.

    Weetbix are a seriously under utilised food aren't they! As for your home, it's welcoming, relaxing and lovely to be in. And this dish is something my Dad always cooked when everything got too much at our place. I serve it to my own kiddos now when I think they may begin to look like weetbix, or my other favourite standby, rice custard!


  3. This is such a great post, I agree! Put a huge smile on my face,

    I am trying to rail against perfection with all my might, leads to so many ills...:)

  4. Oh Ruth, I so needed to hear your wisdom & I read this with tears. I imagine that you are warm beyond words and that your life and home are full of love, acceptance and a bloody lot of noise. I am too focused on getting it "right" all the time and am definitely a victim of my own standards. You are still one of the most amazing women I've encountered and I won't be told otherwise. Xxxxx

  5. One of your best posts sweet pea!! I know so many people who pretend that their world is "perfect" and we all know it's not reality! Our children learn and grow from making mistakes, its our duty as parents to let them know that sometimes life is not fair or perfect all the time. Everybody has different perceptions of what "perfect" means, in my world its making sure my family and friends are healthy and well and they know that I there for them with unconditional love and non-judgemental advice to help them through their mistakes or tough days. Well done to you my beautiful friend...motherhood in a nutshell!!

  6. A beautiful post, I think it's easy to look at other people's "perfect" lives and feel like we just aren't good enough.

  7. Love your comments on the "shoutty mummy" and the "regretty mummy" (cause I'm those things too). There are lots of "hats" we wear.......grumpy mummy, I want a day off being a mummy mummy, the bestest cook in the world mummy, cuddle mummy, so many....all good in the end.
    Love the pasta, I always eat too much of it 'cause it sooo good! m

  8. I love, love, LOVE this post. I'm a fan of perfectly imperfect because, like you, I tell my boys that "perfect" doesn't exist. We each do what works for us and is best for our family. I used to be one of those perfection seekers, back in the day when I had time and energy, and really needed to find a hobby to channel it all into. I'd take the messy, disorganised, forgetful me of now over that old self any time. Life's too short to worry about washing sheets or scrubbing floors. xxx

  9. You are just super fukn awesome.

    And @Cat, she is "warm beyond words" The absolute warmest! And cuuuute......cuts a sick figure in a clog ta boot!


  10. I am so far from perfect its not even funny. I create chaos, I shout, I cry, I sing, I make mess, I don't like to clean...I cannot read the blogs that are all neat and tidy and perfect. I cannot relate to them. I don't believe them.
    I imagine your place is full to the brim with crazy, wonderful, sometimes messy family life. That all the ingredients are there. That I would walk in and feel right at home. x

  11. Gorgeous you- so perfectly you - and so good to hear Paolo chmoochmoo again. And Aglio et olio is my all time best restorative fix. All quite perfect in fact.

  12. Ha, yes... my life is certainly a little less pretty than what I encapsulate in my blog! But I don't need perfection to be happy. :)

  13. Oh Ruth, you speak wise words once again!!!
    I hope our twitter chat last Friday night didn't leave you with impression that I look to you for perfection. Far from it!!! I look to you for your honesty, your positivity and for how real you are as a mum.

    I'm the worlds biggest slob and am mortified at myself when I am shouty mum, which has been far too often lately. From the little bits and pieces you have shared about your boys, I can see glimpses of them being amazing little people and I aspire to be someone who can help my boys become amazing too. Less shouting and less mother guilt will definitely help me with that, but I know that a clean house won't, so that's not even on my radar!!! All I can say is thank god for visitors or I'd never tidy my house!!!

    Thank you for being providing me, a complete stranger, with inspiration, recipes, a window in to your life and many, many smiles.

  14. it totally is , and I am far from perfect. But it's hard to remember all the time isn't it? Easy to say about others but harder to say to yourself. At least I find it hard not to make an exception of myself.
    But we can't be at our best all the time, or even happy all the time, balanced all the time. It's not healthy and actually rather fake or boring. And or inpecfections are our wonks and squidges and are part of us, and part of what makes us how we are and beautiful. Like a old bear.
    great post xo

  15. Hello, just wanted to pop by and say how much I enjoyed your play-list at MMAM.
    Paul Weller, Jeremy Oxley, Strange Fruit, Ian Dury - each one opens a brain suitcase full of memories.

    Perfection is a funny concept, isn't it?
    It's a cliche - but I reckon we are all perfect just the way we are.

  16. Just found you via Instagram. I enjoyed this post - I am a neat freak and it's not good to live with (unless you need something then I know exactly where it is). I have worked so hard to relax my need for control and order and my life is all the better for some unbridled mess. People have a habit of walking in to my house and being impressed by the order. I need to explain that when my place is super organised (ie colour coded clothes folded perfectly) I am in a bad place mental health wise. I am always in awe of jumbled happily disordered households.

  17. You know what, this post made me cry. I was looking for your pasta sauce recipe and I read this and you've made me feel so much better about my not perfect day. I love you xx

  18. Love the post...we are all only human hey! This is one our our fav's on a sunday night when there is nothing else in the house to eat (or I can't be bothered with anything too elaborate) My fav with the chilli too.


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