This discovery was in the south of France on a blazing hot day. At lunchtime, Mum produced them from an enormous saucepan: French noodles - short strips of pasta - dressed with nothing but French unsalted butter, sea salt (which did not destroy the point of the unsalted butter) and black pepper. A mound of them on a yellow glass plate, melted butter and salt crystals glistening, the steam gently rising. How quickly they swam down our throats.
Years later, they became a staple at university. I once cooked a bowl of buttered noodles for a girl I rather liked there; these particular noodles were green. "Thank you for the lovely tagliatelle", she said on leaving my room shortly after finishing her bowlful. She was far too sophisticated for me, a friend told me, having disclosed my secret to the object of my affection and been told there was no reciprocal interest.