Shelf Life: Forked up pasta at Cost Plus

She is pure evil. Her words are biting, her stare pure ice. Her shrill voice will melt the paint off your walls. Your house is never clean enough for her. Your parenting skills and your appearance provoke her barbed tongue to lacerate every inch of your self-worth. And if you fight back, she'll rampage like Godzilla, leaving your marriage and your sanity in shambles.

She's your mother-in-law.

In all fairness, I drew the long straw on that one. My husband's mother is a charming, polite Southerner who made our gorgeous Celtic cross wedding cake and serves us tea every time we come to visit. What few odd quirks she has can easily be overlooked. But the rest of you who drew the short straw in the in-law game will likely get a chuckle out of my latest Cost Plus find.

I know there's a spiny plant called "mother-in-law's tongue", but I'd never heard of this particular pasta variety. Before I even noticed the name, the boxes of brightly-colored noodles caught my eye. They're about a third of the width of lasagna noodles, and slightly shorter in length, with colored ribbons throughout and sharp points lining the edges. I thought they'd make a great dish for company, perhaps coated in a light alfredo so the pinkish-red, yellow and green swirls remained visible.

These babies were tucked in the clearance aisle at the Mesa Cost Plus World Market, across from the Fiesta Mall, so you'd better hurry if you want to pick one up. Personally, I'd wait till the old bat makes another offhand remark about your sagging boobs or your bald spot, then have her over for a nice pasta dinner and casually leave the box out for her to "accidentally" find. Whoops! (That should shut her up.)

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