Spaghetti for The Single Person
Robert Karl Skoglund, perhaps better known to Maine Public Radio listeners as The humble Farmer, lives in St. George where he was born and brought up.
What has this got to do with spaghetti, you ask? Well, here in Maine you always give a bit of background with a recipe. By the time you actually get to the directions, you're really hungry. So please hang in there, and you'll find it worth your while.
Educated in St. George schools and at colleges in Potsdam, Gorham and the University of Maine at Orono, humble was an NDEA fellow at the University of Rochester where he earned a graduate degree in linguistics. While at Rochester, he represented United States graduate students at the 10th International Congress of Linguists in Bucharest. While picking up his grant money in Bucharest, he asked to meet the other U. S. delegates, and was told, "There is but one delegate from each country." Amazed, Skoglund said, "You mean I'm representing Yale, Harvard, MIT and Machias State? Why did you pick me?" Dr. Mohrmon looked him up and down and replied, "Perhaps you were the only one who applied."
Skoglund has been profiled in Yankee magazine and featured in a Boston Herald cover story, which called him, "New England's answer to Garrison Keillor." A tireless recorder of dry wit, his humor has been proven in over 50 newspapers in the United States and Canada. humble has spoken at the Fifth International Conference on Humor in Cork, Ireland, WHIMSY (humor) conferences in Tempe and at several U. S. Press Associations. A year or so back, while speaking at Nijenrode University, he almost died from Holland's ubiquitous second hand cigarette smoke. He is featured on "Maine, A Video Tour" which once was available in L. L. Bean's and 80 other Maine outlets. Eight hours of his stories are available on audio cassettes and 10 more hours of his most popular radio rants are now on CDs. A television commercial he produced, wrote and narrated was awarded Best of Show by the Advertising Club of Greater Portland. At present he produces his radio show and a television show each week, and continues to speak at conventions.
At 56, the old dodderer married an attractive young widow, Marsha van Zandbergen, for her health insurance benefits: when men over 50 get married, it is their brain that makes the decision. humble found a woman who could augment his zest for rural living: the kind of woman who, if you get up to trot out to the privy at 2 A. M., has made your side of the bed before you can get back. Their marriage, which was covered extensively by Sam Pennington's Antique Digest, is one of Maine's great success stories and Marsha grows even more ravishingly robust each day.
But life was not always this simple for the self-effacing Farmer. Almost 30 years ago his editor wife went down to Beal's Island where she wrote an article for Down East magazine: "Ossie Beal: Maine's Most Active Lobsterman." She is still there.
For the first year Skoglund made Thoreau look like Martha Stewart, but living alone finally encouraged him to put in running water. Because the academic humble had better things to do than wash pans and dishes, the only thing he ate at home for the next 20 years was rolled oats for breakfast and spaghetti for dinner and supper. We will save his rolled oats recipe for the next Maine Writers' Cookbook, but here, for those with a refined cosmopolitan palate, is
Bring two quarts of water to a boil in one of those blue double boiler colander things --- the top one has holes in it. Put in only as much spaghetti as you want to eat right then. Do not break spaghetti. Stand over it and swirl it with your fork --- be careful and spaghetti won't poke out in the little holes. As the bottom part of the spaghetti gets soft, the rest gently sags like a frozen rag into the boiling water. Reduce heat so it doesn't boil over. Set timer for 12 minutes and read Maine Times Personals. "Antique dealer seeks attractive young woman interested in one night stand." "Ornithologist seeks attractive young woman willing to sacrifice everything for a few cheep thrills." Shut off heat, lug boiler over to the sink, lift out top part and slowly dump spaghetti on plate that came from Sicily and bears the inscription: "Ristorante Borgia." Open bottle of Ragu meatless spaghetti sauce and pour just the right amount of cold sauce onto the hot spaghetti. By the time you shake on some Kraft grated cheese the whole thing is room temperature, and you can get the whole business into you in about two minutes standing right there at the kitchen counter by the sink looking out at the apple trees. Do not move feet. Lean to the left and rinse off plate, fork and spoon under the faucet. Double boiler does not require washing. A single man easily finds room to put the cheese and sauce back in the refrigerator because there is nothing else in there but a gallon of skim milk. Leave plate, fork and spoon on the counter because you will use them in another three hours for perhaps the 9,000th time. Any single Maine woman seeking male companionship might also profit by this recipe because:
© 2014 Robert Karl Skoglund