...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mama Mia!

"Life itself is the proper binge." -- Julia Child 

When I was a little girl I thought my mom was the best cook in the whole world!  She made homemade spaghetti sauce.  I recall the sweet smell of the tomatoes and the herbs wafting through the house as she cooked her sauce for hours and hours.  Late in the evening, Mom would scoop out a bowl of sauce and we would sit at the table and dip buttered bread into it.  Mm mm!  

As I grew up I realized my mom really didn't enjoy cooking all that much.  She liked simplicity and she wasn't very good at following recipes.  She just didn't seem to have the patience for them!  I think it was the artist in her...I've noted those same personality traits in my crafting daughter.  :)  

When I went off to college I asked my mom to give me her recipe for her sauce.  She told me I'd have to watch her make her sauce because there wasn't a recipe she used.  
So I watched and I wrote.  For years I have made my mom's sauce making a few tweaks here and there.  

Last week I was glancing through an old cookbook I own.  It is The NEW Antoinette Pope School Cookbook published in 1961.  The previous published editions were in 1948 and 1952!  This may have been one of the first cookbooks my mom owned.  On the inside cover of this treasure my dad's oldest sister inscribed a note of congratulations for my parents wedding.  It's dated 3-3-62.  

My mother's parents were Italian and Irish.  The Italian was my grandpa and the Irish, my Grandma.  Grandma was the cook in that household.  I don't recall ever having spaghetti over there.  So I am thinking...where did my mom's special spaghetti sauce recipe come from?  I believe I have solved that mystery!  
Can you click on the photo above to enlarge it?  It's a hoot to read!  "Standardized recipes of foreign dishes are a thing of the past.  Each chef now adds his individual touches."  Remember, this was originally published in 1948.  

Can you read the recipe?  As a lazy cook I imagine my mom would leave certain, time consuming and tedious, items out of her recipe.  There is no celery in the recipe I wrote down!  Also, nutmeg was not a spice my mom had on hand.  Italian Cheese?  Seems to me this could mean a number of varieties!  My mom left out the baking soda because she did cook her sauce for hours and hours.  

I found the adding of the baking soda the most interesting fact.  I like that this cookbook explains it's purpose: to neutralize acid in tomatoes!  Of course!  I am considering this info the key secret!  As I am aging I have noticed that I can't stomach my own Spaghetti sauce as much any more...too much acid!  In the past year I had started buying canned sauce.  (I am feeling shameful here in admitting that!)

But this past weekend the weather was cool and I was able to make up a huge pot of this recipe.  
I didn't cook this new recipe as long as my mom would have, so I added the soda.  The sauce was wonderful!  

My family didn't see me as I scooped out a little bowl of sauce and grabbed a piece of buttered bread.  I sat alone in my kitchen and my mom was there stirring the pot.  


Hootie said...

If you can't enlarge this recipe and would like it, drop me a note and I'll photo copy it for you. It's worth the effort, really! :)

Lauranie said...

It enlarged nicely! What an awesome recipe...love the baking soda fact!! I will have to remember this for next time. I too buy a big can of the Hunt's sauce, but then it is "improved" upon! :) I omit the sugar, though, I am not one for a sweet sauce. I like mine to be more "tangy"!! Thanks for sharing this with us!! xo

sweetcakes said...

How nice it is to remember your mom when making "her" sauce. Maybe you can pass the recipe on to your kids as well.

SAHM said...

What a treasure! Thanks for sharing and passing along, and you shouldn't feel shameful for admiting sometimes the stuff from a jar works just fine for you . . . most people have never had it any other way. I am glad you found the secret to make it "just like" mom, or something like that! :)

Kimara@weefolkart said...

OMG... I LOVED this post, Hootie! Although I'm mostly know these days for Wee Folk Art, my try writing pleasure comes from my meanderings over at onegenerationtoanother.com (yeah, yeah, I know the address is longer than most commencement speeches!) Anyway, sharing stories about our mothers in the kitchen (and grandmothers) is such a wonderful way of paying them homage and passing down family lore!

I could read the recipe just fine and I plan to try it soon. My mom made her own spaghetti sauce for years, finally giving in a buying Prego. A true loss! Never thought of adding baking soda, and as an university breed home ec teacher I should have, but I'm an definitely going to start using baking soda in my tomato dishes! Thanks for a heart warming blog and tips!