Sunday, September 2, 2007

Remembering Sunday Mornings

From the time I was old enough to eat table food, until I left home at the age of 18, we ate macaroni (it was always macaroni, or spaghetti...I never heard or used the term pasta until much later in my adult life) every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and before all the other dishes on every holiday. On special occasions my mother would make ravioli, lasagna, manicotti, or stuffed shells.

Before going any further with this, let me explain another Italian-American twist on culinary language; our macaroni or spaghetti was served with “gravy”, not sauce. That is another one of those words that did not find their way into my vocabulary until I began eating “pasta”.

During the week the macaroni was served any number of ways...with cheese and butter, with marinara (a loose, almost soupy tomato gravy cooked at the time of the meal), with beans or peas, with clams, or with only oil and garlic. But on Sundays and every holiday except Christmas eve (that's another story) it was served with a deep, rich gravy with a variety of meats (chicken, beef, meatballs, sausage, or a combination of two or more) that only my mother could make. And she did this every Sunday morning.

It’s time to diverge for just a moment. There is no recipe for making gravy, its done intuitively, and or course everyone's intuition is just a little different, so it follows that everyone’s gravy will be just a little different. And sure enough, I could tell without difficulty my mother’s gravy from aunt Dolly’s, aunt Era’s, and uncle Fatty’s, all of which were wonderful. But of course mom’s was the best.

Back to Sunday mornings, my favorite morning of the week while I was growing up. The kitchen would be filled with the aroma from the large pot on the stove filled with the tomatoes, spices, garlic and meat that was in the process of being transformed into my mother’s delicious gravy. A late breakfast, we didn’t know about brunch at that time, would consist of a thick slice of bread covered with the gravy in process and a piece of the gravy meat. If I close my eyes and concentrate real hard I can see my mother standing by the stove and smell the cooking as it fills the room


Aynex Mercado said...

I love your macaroni and gravy!

Joan said...

You've awakened too many menories for me to even begin counting! (P.S. I just happen to be making some fresh "gravy" today)

Brenda said...

I can almost smell the tomatoes, spices and garlic! A very heartwarming post...

V said...

Hi Bill!!!

It's Veeeeeeee

I love, love, love your pasta and sauce!