From the Editor: Noodling around with words leads to novel rant

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 10:18
  • Dive in to a bowl of noodles during National Noodle Month. Photo by iStock by Getty

March is National Noodle Month. Don’t believe me? Go here: www.nationaldaycalendar.com/calendar-at-a-glance.

March is also: National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Cheerleading Safety Month, National Craft Month, National Credit Education Month, National Flour Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Kidney Disease Awareness Month, National Nutrition Month, National Peanut Month, National Sauce Month, National Umbrella Month, and National Women’s History Month.

But let’s get back to noodles. I love noodles, I’m actually eating Pad Thai as I type.

I use the nickname “Noodle” to call my dogs (yes all of them have been called “Noodle” at some point or another).

Noodles, aside from being iconic comfort food, also make a great analogy: You know the one about throwing the pasta on the wall and see what sticks. I use that one a lot when I’m writing.

A noodle by definition is a strip, ring, or tube of pasta or similar dough, typically made with egg and usually eaten with a sauce or in a soup.

That’s good to know given it is National Sauce Month, National Flour Month and throw garlic and peanut in the bowl and you’ve just about got a recipe for Pad Thai. (Too bad it’s not National Cilantro Month.)

Recollections of noodles from my childhood consist of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Kraft Mac and Cheese. Those dry elbow noodles also make great crafts when you’re a kid.

When I got old enough to cook dinners for the family, I learned to make tuna noodle casserole. As an adult, I make a “grown-up” version of the old favorite: Tuna Tetrazzini. If you want the recipe, shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you.

There’s another official month that gets recognized in March as well: National Reading Awareness Month. Each year elementary school students kick-off the month with a celebration of the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

With the help of the National Education Association and its Read Across America campaign, kids of all reading levels get a boost in reading books and reading readiness.

I remember sitting down with picture books when I was little. My parents would read to me at bedtime. From the Cat in the Hat to Ozma of Oz, books transported me to a different place, sparking my imagination and planting the seeds of a writer to-be.

Books I connected with most as a kid were The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I remember when all of my friends starting reading Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager when I read Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald that I had my first existential crisis brought on from reading another author’s interpretation of this mortal coil.

While in a class in high school, we studied the works of William Shakespeare and I started to get the hang of a natural rhythm words provide.

“Words, words, words…” said Hamlet said to Polonius when asked what he was reading.

Words engage, excite, frighten, titillate or dull the senses. It depends on how you look at it. Words, like noodles, can enrich and satisfy.

Enjoy National Reading Awareness Month. Take a moment to sit down with your children or grandchildren and read. Or fine a cozy spot at the library, or a café and enjoy a literal, literary journey.

Whether your taste in literature has spice (like Frank Herbert’s Dune), or is salty (like The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway), sweet (like The Princess Bride by William Goldman), or event nutty (like The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick), have fun with a good read this month… and enjoy a delicious bowl of noodles.

Suzanne Ashe can be reached at suzanne.ashe@alaskastar.com.

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