Spaghetti on Sundays

I’m back doing the Red Writing Hood meme from the wonderful Red Dress Club.  You can read this week’s prompt here.  I’m trying to get back into the creative writing thing, since that’s really what I want to do.  As such, I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year (National Novel Writing Month).  If you haven’t heard of it, the idea is between November 1- November 30 to write a 50,000 word work of fiction.  I hope to finish (so I can get the certificate), but if not, I hope to get a good start.  Anyone care to join me?  C’mon, it’ll be fun!  You can sign up for NaNoWriMo by going to their website.  If you decide to sign up, let me know, I’d love to have some company.

As usual, thanks for reading and all criticism and critiques are welcome.

Spaghetti on Sunday

After church on Sundays my mom donned her school bus yellow apron and made spaghetti sauce.  It was my father’s mother’s recipe.  Mom learned to cook it for him when they were first married and living in a crappy apartment in Baltimore with the big bugs humid weather attracts.

She threw a couple of dollops of Crisco in the big pot and turned the heat on low.   She chopped onions and bell peppers and scooped some garlic from the jar in the refrigerator.  The smell of the sautéed onions filled the kitchen.  She used a wooden spoon to mix in cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water.   Then she added the spices.  Oregano and black pepper.  Enough to cover the surface of the pot, twice.    Spaghetti was the one thing my mom made without measuring exactly.

Once the pot was simmering she started the meat.  Her meatballs, made from some mixture of hamburger, sausage, and some other things she never remembered exactly, were supposed to be fantastic.   I couldn’t say for sure, I never ate them.  Neither did she.   She rolled the sticky meat into golf ball sized balls and browned them in more Crisco along with some Italian sausage.  Then it all went in with the spaghetti sauce to simmer.

The sauce needed at least an hour, but my mom let it simmer all afternoon.  The sweet smell of oregano was inescapable.  It hung in the air in front of the television where we watched the Sunday afternoon movie while Mom ironed.  It crept under the door to the basement where my sister and I played Barbies.  It floated up the stairs to the back room where we sat on our ergonomic chairs doing homework on our DOS based computer or playing The Legend of Zelda on Nintendo.  My mouth watered in anticipation all afternoon.

Dinner was at five thirty, but at four, we started hovering, peeking in the pot to stir it every once in a while.  I’d close my eyes over the steam and inhale, my first aromatherapy experience.

Once Mom got out the pot for the noodles, we started in.

“When’s dinner?”

“When the noodles are done.  About five thirty.”

“I’m hungry.”

“You’ll live.  Now go play somewhere else so I can finish this.”

Dinner was imminent when she poured the steaming pot of noodles into the colander in the sink.  We set the table while she got everything ready.

We heaped piles of shiny noodles on our plates with the white plastic pasta claw and covered it with sauce.  The green container of Kraft parmesan cheese was passed around, snowing on the sauce briefly before melting.  Large glasses of milk, a couple slices of well buttered bread, and a little salad completed the meal.

For me, it marked the end of the weekend, a nice family meal before my dad headed out to Omaha or wherever he was traveling that week.  It filled me, body and soul, until the next weekend.

For my mom, I think it was more simple.  It was a fairly easy meal for her to make and it was the one thing we all ate without complaint.  My pasta loving father, my meatball loving sister, and me, who didn’t eat much of anything.  Except spaghetti on Sunday.


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29 Responses to “Spaghetti on Sundays”

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  1. Christy
    Twitter: thinkinmommy
    says:

    wonderful memories, I love the way this meal is more than food to you, but so much more!

    very well written!

  2. Florida Girl Meets the Midwest
    Twitter: flgirlmidwest
    says:

    I still like spaghetti.

    I am going to seriously consider NaNoWriMo! You are a brave woman for taking it on. Not an easy task.

    Ever read “Water for Elephants”? She partcipated in NaNoWriMo while she was writing it.

  3. Nichole
    Twitter: ITSMoments
    says:

    You did a great job of making me see the meal as it sat on the table.
    I love the image of the Kraft parmesan cheese snowing and then melting!

  4. The Drama Mama
    Twitter: poopscoopinmama
    says:

    I am definitely interested in this NaNoWriMo thing. As for this story? Excellent. I love that I can smell the spaghetti (and you also managed to give the recipe!!) and my favorite part was when you described the parmesan as snow on the sauce. Beautiful descriptions!

  5. Cheryl @ Mommypants
    Twitter: mommy_pants
    says:

    I never knew about the Crisco – ack! But that’s probably what made them even more delish.

    I love how now you can totally get why your mother made this meal and how it must’ve been nice to have something that you all liked.

  6. Candice
    Twitter: FashOrganized
    says:

    This is wonderful. The best part for me was that you can sense the leisure in your mother making this dish. It was a staple she could count on. I seriously could picture the whole thing like it was happening in my own house.

  7. Aging Mommy says:

    I really liked this – I love the way you describe your typical Sunday, your Mom cooking the spaghetti, you all doing your usual Sunday things, the smell of the sauce spreading through the house. Quite lovely.

  8. angela
    Twitter: tiaras_trucks
    says:

    Your descriptions are so wonderfully vivid. The fondness that seeps through this whole piece makes me want to make homemade spaghetti sauce so that my kids feel like this one day! (Do you think they’ll notice if I peel the labels off the Ragu and say I made it myself?)

    NaNoWriMo is tempting but scary!

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I don’t think your kids would notice at all. It’s really more the thought behind it anyway. :) NaNoWriMo is scary, but you should definitely do it. Nothing lost, maybe a first draft gained. :)

  9. Carrie
    Twitter: Miss_Scarlett99
    says:

    Oh, I remember the delicious spaghetti dinners my mom made. She’d let the sauce simmer all afternoon too.

    I was planning on doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) in November…maybe each post will be part of a novel to meet both requirements :)

  10. Natalie
    Twitter: mommyofamonster
    says:

    The Legend of Zelda! Wow that was a huge blast from the past. And now, I want spaghetti.

    I love how typical and ‘normal’ your story was…it was like a day that could’ve happened at my house when I was a kid.

  11. Natalie
    Twitter: mommyofamonster
    says:

    Me again! I signed up for NaNoWriMo! Thanks to you and Nichole for introducing it to me…I have a story plot in mind and it just might work for this!

  12. Kristy says:

    I love the feelings that just…come with this description. The nostalgia involved.

  13. Ash
    Twitter: AshatShades
    says:

    I loved this – the spaghetti sauce sounds incredible (Crisco?), but it’s the family tradition that touches me even more. Makes me want to clear my boys’ schedules and start a tradition of our own. I wonder how many families have Sunday afternoons like this any more?

    And what is it about men and meatballs? My father loves them as well, but none of the rest of us would touch them either. Makes me wonder if your mother even tired of making them.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I wish we had meals like this still. It was a really grounding tradition. My mom has stopped making the meatballs now that it’s just her and my dad. :) And I’m so glad you’re doing NaNoWriMo! You’re right, misery does love company.

  14. Ash
    Twitter: AshatShades
    says:

    P.S. – I’m doing NaNoWriMo as well. So glad you are as well – misery loves company ;-)

  15. Diana
    Twitter: knzus
    says:

    Mmmmmmmm, I can almsot smell your post a-cookin’! Deeeeeeee-licious! *slurp* Oops, sorry. *wipes blog page with napkin*

    Guess what I’m making for supper tonight! ;) LOL!

Trackbacks

  1. […] learned to cook all the Hungarian recipes, so I could share our heritage with my children.  I make her spaghetti sauce pretty regularly.   I’ve changed it a bit.  I use olive oil instead of Crisco.  I use […]