When it comes to comfort foods, lasagne is right at the top of my list. You know when you hear an old but classic song and it instantly takes you back to this specific vivid memory you have from the past? Well just as songs can bring us back into time, so can certain food dishes. And believe it or not I have quite a powerful memory behind the ever so popular lasagne dish.
So where does lasagne take me back to? It takes me back to a magical place. A place where I feel so overwhelmingly grateful that I remember. It takes me back to a restaurant called “Copa Cabana” in Transcona where I grew up. My parents were still together and not divorced. My younger brother was still alive and well. I got to enjoy my family in full all at one table enjoying our favourite meals. Every time we dined at Copa Cabana I would order the lasagne, my brother would get his pizza, my mother her turkey club sandwich, and my father, the spaghetti. We were a family full of jokes and sarcasm and we just loved to press each other’s buttons (in a fun and loving way ;) These quirky characteristics seemed to shine as we all sat down together at the familiar corner table in the far left hand side of the restaurant. This run down Italian joint (that closed many years ago) holds such a special place in my heart.
My parents are both much more content now that they are no longer in their dead end marriage. I wasn’t ever one of those kids that hoped and prayed for her parents to get back together because I do and did understand that it was for the best. They separated because they were not happy and so as long as their parting reasons did not change, I knew they were better off. I hear time and time again that many parents decide to stay to together as long as possible “for the kids.” I personally cringe and grit my teeth when I hear these words. Children are sponges. Since I was one of these “kids”, I will speak from experience when I say this-we hear and feel everything around us. Every tense good morning or good night, every verbal (or physical) fight, and even all those words that are not exchanged-we both hear and feel. Although we may not understand all the complications in a relationship, we do understand when it’s not how it should be or how it used to be. Now I wouldn’t say I’m pro separation or divorce and I know this situation is unique to each and every couple. Parents facing this nightmare have one of the hardest decisions they will ever come to make. I’m simply stating my point of view. If all marriage saving options have been sought out and practiced and have failed and the only reason a mother and father are sticking it out is “for the kids,” well to that I simply ask one question. What benefit are the children really gaining from growing up with two parents that don’t want to (or can’t) be together? If it were me, I would think ahead to when my children grow up. What if they regrettably end up unhappily married? What would I want for them knowing exactly how they feel as I too, have also been in those dreaded shoes?
Marriage is tough. I have only been married coming on to two years and I know that the next few years will also hold some of our biggest hurdles we will ever face together. I’d like to say that these hurdles are ones that I could have predicted, but several of our hardships were complete surprises. Things that we had never thought to have discussed or things that were not covered during marriage prep. Situations that just happen as two people mature and grow individually but struggle on how to make those changes together, as a husband and wife. In just two short years I have come to understand problems that a couple can endure. We also do not even have children yet-which as a realist, I know is a whole other ball game. Marriage is a commitment and each and every person that says “I do” will have a lot of moments in their lives where they must remember that they did in fact recite those two small but powerful words. No married person can predict the future. Life happens and we must take what it throws at us with the mindset of willingness. Willingness to make it work or in the least, to try our damned hardest. The way I see it is far from how our past generations see it. Back in the day, a married couple was to stay together-no ifs, ands, or buts. No matter what situations or turn of events that took place, two married people should never part ways. What I agree with is a mutual effort to try and mend any broken strings within a marriage. We all know that compromise, communication, honesty, and an open mind are essential for a successful marriage. And by successful marriage I mean a happy one- a union that both parties want to be in. Giving up at the first bump in the road never made any relationship stronger but if a marriage consists only of those bumps no matter what the two try-how far should they keep driving?
At the end of the day I respect any couple that chooses to stay together and I respect any couple that separates. In my parent’s case, I respect their decision and even thank them for it. Above all, I believe in living a fulfilling life full of love and happiness and I just can’t help but think part of this mindset of mine that I adore so much is thanks to their decision to part ways.
Of course, at the time it was heartbreaking. I was twelve and my younger brother was 10. He had the worst time accepting the news. I wasn’t too much a fan of all the inconvenient changes but I knew deep down it was for the best. Being the sponge child that I was, I knew there was no longer a marriage between my mother and father; they were just two people living under the same roof. But as much as I respect their decision, I can’t help but smile when I do remember our time as a family back at that worn down little table in Copa Cabana. Being a child of divorced parents makes you appreciate a lot of little everyday things that most whole families would never think twice to cherish. Things like lasagne. Who knew such a popular pasta dish could hold such a powerful memory and will continue to do so for years to come?
I apologize if I dampened your mood a tad but all this lasagne talk made me feel some sort of way. I have very passionate opinions when it comes to…living life. I would love to hear your opinion on divorce or divorce when children are involved. Let’s get deep and discuss. But don’t forget to check out my lasagne recipe because it’s layered with plantiful love. You have never seen so many colourful veggies packed in one pasta dish…which gives you the justification to go for seconds.
*Makes 6 servings
- 1 lb. ground beef or bison (or chicken or turkey)
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1.5 tsp. oregano
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- Pinch of sea salt and pepper
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Squirt of fresh lime juice
- 340g (12 oz.) brown rice lasagne noodles
- 1 zucchini, peeled
- 1 large golden beet, cut into thin slices
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 1 cup grated goat mozzarella cheese
- Fresh herbs of choice for on top
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a bread loaf pan.
- Heat a large skillet over medium to low heat and add your meat once it’s warm.
- Let the meat cook brown to the halfway point and then add the garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper and let finish cooking.
- In the meantime, prepare your lasagne noodles as per package directions.
- Once your meat is cooked, stir in the tomato sauce and lime juice, reduce the heat to low and let cook for another few minutes.
- Prepare the remaining vegetables and grate your cheese.
- Once your noodles are prepared, you can now start layering.
- Start with a thin layer of your meat sauce, and then add noodles on top.
- Load up on a layer of your colourful veggies and some cheese and add more noodles.
- Repeat until all of your ingredients are used up. It will be one high stack of goodness.
- Save some cheese for on top and sprinkle on your fresh herbs of choice.
- Bake in the oven for ~30 minutes uncovered or until the top layer is crispy and the cheese has started to brown.
- Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.
Whether you are a child of divorced parents like me or are an adult who has faced the decision of whether or not to get divorced-I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!