Last night my husband paid me the best compliment of our entire marriage (over 30 years). He asked me where I had found the recipe for this Mediterranean Langostino Pasta. For a moment I thought that he was kidding and then when I looked at his face I realized that he was serious.
“Uhhhh…from my own noggin,” I said while tapping my head.
“You made this up?” he asked, looking genuinely surprised. “How?”
I wasn’t offended. Actually I felt like a little kid who has just done something really smart for their age. Wait. That can sort of apply to someone of my *maturity*…I did something smart for my maturing age.
Speaking of age, I am reminded of when I first went back to college, 9 years ago this week. I was in my mid forties and scared spitless. I knew that I was up against very bright, young minds and it was completely intimidating. I tried to keep a low profile–sat at the back of the classroom, slumped down in my seat, never raised my hand to ask or answer a question. Things were working pretty well and I felt completely unseen for the first few weeks.
Then we had our first test in anatomy. I aced it. “Yeah for the old lady,” I thought. Still I remained incognito at the back of the room, invisible. A few days following the test, a woman approached me and said that she had noticed me and was wondering if I would help her study. She explained that she had flunked the test and had spoken to the professor about it. He had advised her to find somebody in the class to help her study. For some reason she picked me. Later that same day, a young man in his mid twenties stopped me in the library and also said that he had seen me in class and was wondering if I would like to study with him.
So much for being invisible. Two people asking me to help them study, both in the same day. I guess I looked ‘safe’. Maybe sitting at the back of the room had called a lot more attention to me than I thought. I saw myself as an insecure, moderately dumpy, minivan driving, 40-something mother of three. As I think about it, that is probably pretty close to how others viewed me. I was a mom and by the looks of me I was obviously not on the prowl. Which made me a safe study partner for a woman who was desperately afraid of failing anatomy and a young man who was recently married. The young man could go home and tell his wife, “You don’t have anything to worry about, I am studying with a woman old enough to be my mom. She even drives a minivan.”
By the end of the week we had added a fourth person to our strange little study group, another young man who was engaged to be married in a few of months. He, too, had approached me after class one day and asked about studying together. He had a different style of approach…”Hi. My name is ——. I’ve been watching you sitting at the back of the class taking notes. You look smart. I bet you aced the test. Will you help me study?” He looked like a forlorn puppy that one of my kids might try to bring home, so I said yes.
Our group worked really well together. Age and gender seemed to fade into the background as we all supported one another in the learning process. Or so I thought.
One day I was sitting in the library in a carrel with my back towards the room at large. Behind me was a table of guys studying for what sounded like a math class. I was keeping my head buried in my anatomy book, relentlessly trying to memorize the parts and functioning of ‘the kidney’ (you’d be surprised how much there is know about the intricacies of kidneys). As I was studying, my ears picked up the sound of a familiar voice. It was the puppy from my study group and he was talking to the guys at the math table. “Hey guys, listen. Have any of you seen Terri?” “Who’s Terri?” one of them asked.
“You know, Terri. That older woman in anatomy that sits at the back of the room.”
Zing! I couldn’t decide whether to keep my head buried in my book or turn around and own the moment and the description. I chose the later. Casually turning around and hooking my arm over the back of my chair I coyly asked, “Did you, by chance, mean me?”
The puppy went 25 shades of pink and red as his buddies slapped their hands over their mouths stiffling their laughter. “She got you, man! She so got you!” The puppy started stammering. “I, I, I didn’t mean that you were old. I mean, well I mean, well I just meant…”
“Yes?” I said as I reveled in watching him squirm.
“I just was trying to describe you so that they wouldn’t think I was talking about one of the other girls. I mean you’re older than…”. He was digging himself deeper and deeper and his friends were laughing their heads off.
I don’t remember how things ended that day, but here’s the bottom line: older women can still have a few tricks up their sleeves, like leading a study group or passing nursing boards or even making up a recipe right out of their own noggins. Oh, the wonder of it all.
- Langostino is a bit of flavor cross between shrimp, lobster, and crayfish. I found frozen, cooked langostino at Costco. Because langostino can be seasonal and/or difficult to find, shrimp or chicken could easily be substituted for the langostino in this recipe.
- Pancetta is an Italian ‘bacon’. Many deli counters at grocery stores sell pancetta. American style smoked bacon is a good substitute for pancetta in this recipe.
For other recipes on this site using langostino please see: