Thursday, August 1, 2013

Homemade Spaghetti in a Green Bowl ~

I'm not much of a sentimental person when it comes to things.  If I don't love it, I really don't want to hold on to it.  I love my old green bowl.

My bowl belonged to my maternal grandmother, who died in 1974.  She didn't have nice things.   She was poor, having been a sharecropper's wife and then a widow for so many years.  She lived in a small, fairly primitive house...but that's a story itself.

When her children cleared out her things, my mom asked me if there was something I wanted - you bet I did...her green serving bowl.  All kinds of good things to eat were served in that bowl.  Spaghetti and Chicken Fricassee mostly.

Yesterday I used my green bowl.  I made Spaghetti.  I could write a book...I've made all kinds - Sausage Spaghetti, Shrimp Spaghetti, Pork Rib Spaghetti.  My favorite is Chicken Spaghetti.  Yesterday I made my kids' favorite kind - with ground chuck.  (Too bad none of them were here to eat it!)


I make this like my Mom did. And she made it the way her mom did, on the farm in Bell City, Louisiana. Here's how I do it: 

As with many dishes, the secret to good spaghetti is good meat. You want to use high quality ground chuck. I use the 90% lean/10% fat mix from Sam's Club.  Don't use bargain meat.  It's not worth doing.  Have a ham sandwich instead. (No, they didn't have Sam's Club for ground beef back in The Great Depression, but they had cows in the pasture, and I assume the meat was good.  So there.) 

Season the meat with salt and pepper, brown in a heavy pot over medium heat, breaking up the meat as you go. When the meat is browned, watch it closely. You'll have some liquid in the bottom of the pot but let it cook for a few more minutes and the water will cook out. This is important...if you drain the meat as soon as the pink is gone you're pouring all the flavor out. A little fat is OK, even good.  

Add some chopped garlic (must be fresh, don't use chopped garlic from a jar) and onions and saute for a couple of minutes. I like a generous amount of garlic.  If you don't, we can't be friends.  

Then add tomato sauce (a can or 2) and tomato paste (1) and stir in well. Add water - how much depends on how much meat you have. I fill my tomato sauce can with about 5 cans of water. Add 1 teaspoon sugar (just trust me, that's enough).  

Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for awhile until least 40 minutes for a normal pot.  Stir often, don't let your sauce burn. Add more water if it gets too thick.  You cannot rush good spaghetti.

The first meal I made for Don after we got married was Sausage Spaghetti. He loved it. Little did he know how much spaghetti-eating was in his future. 

I don't make it nearly as much as I used to when our children were young. In nearly 39 years of marriage I've never made spaghetti with sauce from a jar. And I don't expect I ever will. 

Spaghetti is delicious, especially served from an old green bowl. 

The end.
By Stephanie Lynn