This is my Grandma Barbara and my Pa Ralph. I never called my grandpa "pa" growing up, but when Avery started talking, grandpas became pas and the name stuck. I love this picture of my grandparents. They look so happy and hip. I've always seen George and myself in this picture, if only we were hip and photogenic.
This is my grandma's spaghetti sauce. She learned to make it from her mother, and my mother learned to make it from both her mother and grandmother. When I found myself in the position of head cook for our family years ago, I learned to make it myself, putting my taste memories to the test.
A few weeks ago, my mom and I cooked up a huge batch of Grandma's spaghetti sauce for a family reunion of sorts. I learned from this experience that I make the sauce totally different from my mom, grandma and great grandma. Similar, but not quite the same. As we chopped, sauteed and stirred, I kept saying, "Really? That's how you make it?" (sorry Mom). Our dinner was delicious, but I think I will stick to my recipe, and in honor of my grandma, it will always be known as Grandma's Spaghetti. Here's the recipe, from my memory to your kitchen.
Grandma's Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. ground beef
4 slices bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes
1 - 14 ounce can tomato sauce
1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 can Italian style stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 heaping teaspoon each oregano and basil (or 1 very generous tablespoon if using fresh herbs)
1 bay leaf
In a large saucepan, brown ground beef and bacon. Drain fat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion softens. In a blender, mix one large can of whole tomatoes with tomato paste. Add to saucepan. Blend the other can of whole tomatoes with the stewed tomatoes and add to saucepan. Add tomato sauce, sugar and herbs to saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours (the longer the better). Serve over your favorite pasta. Freeze leftovers in quart size containers for easy suppers.
This afternoon while I was making spaghetti sauce, George was brewing beer and Avery was graphing pennies, Aidan found his own project. I found him laying on the floor, talking on the phone and studying the phonebook. I crept closer to investigate, expecting to hear the operator saying "Your call cannot go through", but instead discovered he was carrying on a conversation with a real live person! He guiltily handed over the phone and I had a nice little conversation with the FTD operator who said, "He was trying to order you flowers." Very sweet, but I'll be hiding my credit cards from now on. I guess we've moved on from daisies in thimbles. He loves me, he loves me not, he definitely loves me.