Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner: Mom's Famous Marinara and Pasta Sauce

I’m going to make it short since time is merely a small corner this week (I’ve been trapped into a very tight schedule). I just love the holidays. They bring everything into perspective. They have a way of making you appreciate your parents, no matter their discrepancies.

At this time of year, it takes me back to my Mom’s house at Thanksgiving time. I thought I would share a story centered around her cooking habits-- seeing as they were different from most households. Total yum for the tum (my brow is waggling).

Thanksgiving at our house smelled of a different scent, not the usual turkey roasting in the oven, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. Something burnt wafted throughout house instead.

When guests would come to the house for dinner, she would serve her “Famous Marinara Sauce and Pasta” (waggle, waggle goes the brows).

Mom would sit and scoot herself up to the table.“Now, Charlie isn’t that the best spaghetti you’ve ever had?” I can still hear her voice in my head. It was the same statement to each and every house guest subjected to her pasta and sauce.

Half-way into his first forkful what could Charlie do? Chew, smile, and nod, eventually he said, “Definitely.” He looked around at the others sitting at the table telepathically crying for help.

“You want to know my recipe?” Mom asked.

“Sure,” he said, scratching behind one of his ears (the usual response).

“It’s real simple,” Mom said, “You brown hamburger in the Crockpot. Then you salt and pepper it. Then you add tomato sauce and tomato paste along with one cup of sugar with a couple dashes of red pepper flakes. And you let it cook all day.”

Charlie choked several times before he fumbled for his ice water. The rest of the guests set their forks down or swirled them in their mushy pasta, pushing it from one side of the plate to the other.

“You all ready for dessert?” she’d ask after about twenty minutes into the dinner. Sometimes I wondered if she set out to torture friends and family with her delicacies but dessert should cool the frightening main course that we all partook in (we’d hope for it anyway).

My Stepfather would say, “What’s for dessert, dear?” His ears would perk up reminding me of a Saint Bernard(no pun intended, but he is a saint to put up with Mom’s cooking and he does remind me of a big lovable dog).

“Cheesecake.” The word came halfway out of her mouth before dashing into the kitchen to retrieve her sweet treat. “And it took me half the day to prepare, and five hours to bake.”(My brows waggle more.) She never divulged the secret ingredients.

Everyone around the table sat waiting in anticipation of possibly engorging themselves since they had hardly eaten the “Famous Marinara Sauce and Pasta” dish.

Mom rushed back into the dining room humming and placed the confection in the middle of the table. She looked at the thing like it was one of her newborn babies, proud of her masterpiece with pure love beaming from her eyes.

It looked like a cheesecake until Mom stuck a knife into it. The middle sunk, all liquid-like. Yup. Cheesecake soup to be precise, smothering crumbled graham crackers.

To me it tasted a little bit like raw eggs.

Anyway to end this story, my Stepfather spent most of his evenings after any of Mom’s dinners in the bathroom, and whatever guests attended any of the dinners, made a mad dash to the door.

As for me, my poor stomach burned with nightmares most nights growing up.

Well, anywho… Happy Thanksgiving All!!

Happy Writing!!


  1. Shelly, You are adorable, and I've never seen a picture of you but I imagine you must have cute eyebrows that waggle a whole bunch when you read our blogs!

  2. Evie:

    When I figure out how to get my pic posted....hoping to do that over the holidays. Have instructions to read that came with my 19.99 digital camera. Not to mention, I'd like to redecorate this blog.


  3. It is not what I would imagine for Thanksgiving but my sister is married to a Hispanic and let me tell you that going to her house for the holidays is always unique. Chicken and mole' sauce and other things.

    Don't get me wrong. I love, love, love spicy food...but for some holidays I could do without. :)

  4. But, I'm not so sure you would have survivied my mother's concoctions. The one year she actually attempted to make a turkey she forgot to turn on the oven.


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