This post is to honour a good friend who I learned much from when I was a girl in her early teens and a budding cook. The first time I tasted Mary’s spaghetti sauce, I was hooked; I think I was maybe ten. It was slightly spicy, aromatic with cloves and cinnamon, the sweetness of tomatoes, a hit of cayenne pepper, rich with chunks of meat that benefited from being cooked for a number of hours until they fell apart. And it was totally fabulous! She had two sisters-in-law of Italian heritage and the original recipe seems to have come from one or the other or perhaps it was a combination of both!
When I was growing up spaghetti at our house was a bit unusual to say the least. Mom would make very good meatballs occasionally. She would brown them and put them in a sauce that began with sautéing onions in the pan the meatballs were browned in, then adding canned tomato soup and some milk to thin it. She then added the meatballs and simmered it all together for a while. No herbs, and I might add no garlic! Dad always said he hated garlic so Mom never cooked with it. Much later on I’d sneak some into something I’d made and I don’t even think he knew it! One spaghetti and meatballs dinner that’s a bit of a family legend was when Mom had made her spaghetti and meatballs and my cousin, who was in his teens at the time, decided to cut the spaghetti with scissors as it was sticking together in such a way that he couldn’t get it out of the pot!
When I had that aha moment sampling Mary’s spaghetti with meat sauce I asked for the recipe. I then asked my Mom if I could make it. This really was the start of my passion for pasta, ultimately leading me to my discovery of Italian foods. Over the years I have changed it up a bit, perhaps for the better or maybe not! But then, after talking with Mary’s daughter about the sauce, she too admitted that she’s changed up the recipe a bit as well! Whew, now I don’t feel bad about doing so.
Thank you Mary, wherever you are, for sharing recipes with me and most especially for being a special friend.
Helpful link to Mary’s Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.