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Oct 10, 2011 09:19 AM

An Atavistic Response [moved from Home Cooking board]

My son was studying words for an English quiz, and atavistic was among them. I said, "So, here's an example: when I have to make dinner, the first thing I think about is pasta. That's an atavistic response." Pasta is my default setting, it's what we had growing up about 5 times a week, including soup and first courses of things like pasta with peas, pasta with cici, pasta fagioli, spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, lasagna, etc., etc.

What's your atavistic cooking response? Do you turn to a meal that was one you grew up with more often than not?

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  1. The pasta response is atavistic behavior for me too, and it was what I ate a great amount of growing up. Default setting, absolutely.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Same here. Three Italian girls in a row with the same response, not surprising, eh? :) Ziti with meatballs (kinda funny ziti seems less vogue in the world of shapes now), broccoli 'n elbows, stuffed shells, manicotti, linguini with clam sauce...and pastina and acini di pepe for soup always, always--then and now!

    2. Thanks for the new vocab, roxlet. :)

      My atavistic response is generally to get sweet, hot/spicy, sour, and salty (but not too salty) on the table together by whatever means.

      1. I go to meatballs and spaghetti, lasagna and meatloaf.
        Not exactly in line with the above, a baked chicken is also so easy I could do it with my eyes closed by now.

        1. Hmm .. I'd have to say my 1st inclination is to bring to mind what we had last night, so that I don't make the same thing again.

          My childhood meals were rarely pasta -- we had meat/potatoes/vegetable. Spaghetti was special!

          1 Reply
          1. re: blue room

            We had the same but spaghetti came out of a can. Chili with minute rice was special and the first thing I learned to cook on my own,

          2. Hot (spicy).

            I didn't grow up with that on a regular basis — it was an infrequent treat punctuated by ventures to Thai and Ethiopian restaurants. And Mom's massive yield of habaneros one summer helped the transformation.

            A college friend would bring her dad's homemade salsa from home. She and I'd sit and eat it by the spoonful, while our roommates looked on in wonder.