On June 19, 1978, an orange, overweight, cranky cat graced 41 newspapers. His apolitical nature attracted readers of all ages, providing a palette cleanser to the politically correct style of New Yorker cartoons. Garfield’s debut created thousands of passionate fans, so when newspapers replaced the Garfield strip, they rallied for it to be reinstated. Although the looks of the main characters have transformed with time, Garfield, Odie, and Jon Arbuckle’s adventures, or lack thereof, becoming 41 in June, the gang continues to gain notoriety in the meme community and in our hearts.
Garfield is an exotic shorthair, cats known for looking grumpy 24/7. Born in a restaurant called Mamma Leoni’s Italian Restaurant, he grew his hatred for Mondays, his love for laziness, sassy remarks, and how could I forget, lasagna. And who could blame the cat? A mixture of genuine Italian tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and ground beef sandwiched between layers of pasta, then topped off with even more cheese and fresh basil; the Italian burger is loved by everyone (but we’re only focussing on Garfield, this champ eats 50 boxes of lasagna every week).
As a child, I found myself enthralled in the life of Garfield. I loved his sassiness towards his owner Jon Arbuckle, his mischievous deeds against his fellow friend Odie the dog, and his general apathy towards everything. He was the world’s worst cat, making a model for the stereotypical cat characters we see in entertainment today. Garfield was for everyone, making him an important universal figure for future media.
When I found my love for the fat orange cat rekindled in my heart, I knew I had to do something special, something that represented my undying praise for this comic strip character.
My love for Garfield can be described in one word, layered. How is it layered though? Is it layered with creamy alfredo, ricotta with a mixture of deletable spices? Perhaps some cheese to show how gooey my love is? Some spicy peppers to show how my love cannot be contained? Then it hit me. What is layered with delectable flavors of Italy and is coincidentally Garfield’s favorite food? Nature’s perfect food, lasagna.
I knew that I needed to create a pan of lasagna that not only I will love, but my best friend Garfield will adore too. The only problem was what kind of Lasagna recipe would I follow, not the fact that I couldn’t cook if my life depended on it. I roamed the web for lasagna recipes that Garfield approved of, but I couldn’t find it. Minutes passed, then hours, then days. I began to lose hope, I looked for this lasagna recipe for centuries and I couldn’t find any article that stated the recipe was Garfield approved!
Around this time I sent my friends on a long, grueling journey to find the perfect lasagna recipe. Although they were hesitant at first, they jumped aboard the Garfield train. Everyday we would go on call and go on Google to discover something notable. We would search for hours looking for this recipe. Recipe after recipe claiming to be the “official” Garfield’s Lasagna, yet we all knew that this was clickbait. It wasn’t until one of them stumbled across a website, Garfield.com, the official Garfield website. The interface was reminiscent of the 90s, bright blues with an eggshell white, and overall looked unprofessional. Yet, Garfield.com was the real thing. We scoured the page for anything relating to lasagna. Then we stumbled upon a page simply named Lasagna Day. Reading the article, you find the official Garfield lasagna recipe. The recipe was simply titled Easy, Cheesy Lasagna. We have found the recipe.
Easy, Cheesy Lasagna features Italy’s finest ingredients. A mixture of fresh ground beef and sausage, farmed white onion, basil, parsley, and Italian fennel seeds, tomato sauce that your Italian grandmother would approve of, freshly laid eggs, France’s finest cheeses, and freshly made lasagna noodles. So, it makes sense that I would shop at the highest end market in Los Angeles: Walmart.
Walmart is a scary place. Hundreds of aisles full of Great Value products and stressed out adults, I am not the biggest fan of Walmart. However, I had to make this lasagna, even if I needed to shed blood. Stepping inside the Walmart, I’m immediately overwhelmed with employees bombarding me with “Hi, welcome to Walmart!” Each aisle provided new obstacles and anxieties, so instead of enduring the pain, I just ran (3rd grade track really paid off). With a basket full of lasagna ingredients, I paid at self checkout. The total was $24.78, which may be expensive, but love doesn’t have a price.
Now, the only thing left was to cook the lasagna. My cousin’s birthday was rapidly approaching, so I knew I had to make the Italian delicacy for the potluck. My family has a history of being extremely judgmental when it comes to food, especially mine. They’re extremely brutal with their insults when I’m in the kitchen, so I tend to use my tears as salt. Knowing my family’s Gordon Ramsey-esc nature, I needed to follow the recipe, word by word. Well, the lack thereof.
The recipe has three short paragraphs on the preparation and cooking of the lasagna. Although they didn’t go into detail on most steps, it was straightforward and simple, just like the comics the lasagna is based off of. Cooking was simple, which is surprising based on my track record. The only problem that emerged was the browning of the meat. I have a problem when it comes to cooking meat or eggs. I keep the goods on the stove for way too long, since I don’t want to get food poisoning. As one would expect, it burns into coal. I ended up burning the meat instead of browning it, so I had to buy another pack of meat. Other than that, the lasagna went into the broiler for 20 minutes.
After an excruciating 20 minutes, the lasagna was done. The top displayed a golden brown mozzarella crust, and the aroma of Italy danced around the house. With a sprig of fresh basil gently placed on the mozzarella blanket, the lasagna was done.
Now, it was time for the moment of truth. The tasting of this layered beauty. Cutting the lasagna was like cutting through butter with a hot knife. As the knife dug deeper into the pasta skin, fragrant smoke emerged. With the lasagna sliced and ready, we could finally dig in and review it.
To start off, the aroma was that of an Italian grandma’s house. You could smell the spices and tomatoes merrily dancing, while the rich meat played the organ. My fork cut through the pasta loaf with ease and the lasagna didn’t crumble on impact. Eager, I stuck the fork in my mouth. I knew I was in Flavortown. Everything about the lasagna was beautiful. The flavors of the meat and the sauce graced my tongue. I loved this lasagna.
Since I served this at a party, people ate it left and right; and one of those people was my grandma. My grandma is the Guy Fieri of my family, and if she loved my lasagna, then I have achieved my goal.
“Yeah, no,” my grandma tells me. “You should’ve just made me Filipino food.”
Garfield’s lasagna is one of the best things I have ever eaten. The flavor profile was unique and each ingredient mixed into this beautiful taste that I can only describe as Italian goodness. Love makes the best food, and my love for Garfield will forever be cemented in the ER Scream and this lasagna.