Spaghetti Aglio Olio

dish of spaghetti with quote from article

A few years ago, my wanderlust family and I took a trip to Israel. Because we use airline miles to travel, we were given a two day layover in Venice. (Poor us.) My children had never flown overseas and thus were completely knocked out by jet lag. Our trip was in December. The morning after we arrived in Venice, we opened our drapes to find that it had snowed and was unseasonably cold for that time of year. We had packed for Mediterranean weather in Israel.

I got locked out of the flat that we had rented and sat alone on a bench in a hotel until someone could come and figure out why my family was locked in and I was locked out. The kids were whiny and cold. My youngest stopped walking at one point and started to cry. (He was eight-years-old.) He said, “I’m cold and I want to go home.” We have pictures of him in a ball on the floor at the famous Guggenheim Museum on the canals of Venice. So far not a stellar trip.

After regrouping with layers of clothes and some new Bambino pants for my youngest, we ventured out into the charming alleyways of Venice. We happened upon a small mom and pop restaurant that was warm and smelled delicious as we walked in. We sat down to hot, homemade bread out of the oven, table wine for my husband and me and decadent hot chocolate for the kids.

My daughter ordered Spaghetti Aglio Olio, delicious pasta with spices and olive oils. She devoured that pasta and we all had bites of one of the best dishes that I’ve ever had. Our spirits were renewed; we were warm, well fed and ready to try again. The rest of the trip was magical, both in Venice and Israel. In tougher times, I think of that trip and the adventure of it all, but especially of that Spaghetti Aglio Olio.

The Lesson of Pasta, Wine, and Family

We’ve tried to duplicate that recipe numerous times in my home and although good, we still haven’t come close. My daughter has ordered it at many restaurants and still, not even close. Then I wonder, “Was it the delicious dish or was it us?” “Was it the adventure of the trip, the challenge of traveling with younger children, the sense that we had stepped into a perfect little spot to help us regroup and recharge? ”

What most of us need is to stop, get warm, feed ourselves, and experience all of it. #selfcare #mindfulness Click To Tweet

That day, that dish, and that moment is a microcosm of what most of us need. We need to stop, get warm, feed ourselves, and experience all of it. Admittedly it’s not so hard to recharge in Venice! I’m privileged to have gone and I’m grateful for it. But the vast majority of my life isn’t in Venice or anywhere much outside of a nice Chicago suburb. Challenges, frustrations, and annoyances arise daily. Almost all of it could be solved with a good dish of Spaghetti Aglio Olio and my family. It’s a lesson I have to remind myself of frequently.

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate this special holiday.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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Comments to “Spaghetti Aglio Olio”

  1. I went to Florence with my family when I was 21 and had spaghetti aglio olio and I have still never forgotten how delicious it was. I have never ordered the dish here because I know it wouldn’t be the same (and I dont’ eat carbs anymore 🙁 but I still remember clearly how blown away I was by how good it was.