Today’s prompt: “March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.”
As I type this, the sauce described in this post is bubbling on my stove. My absolute favorite meal growing up was my mom’s spaghetti sauce. I loved coming home from school to the familiar smell of it simmering on the stove. It doesn’t taste like any other sauce I’ve ever had.
Including my own attempts to make it. Lest any of my relatives think I’m blasphemous for posting mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe on the Web, never fear. I’m not. Because I don’t have it.
Oh, I have a recipe, but it’s not the real deal.
What I do have is a recipe that mom dictated to me about eight years ago. My mom was dying of cancer and as I spent time with her during those last couple of months, I asked her to tell me how she made some of my favorite dishes.
She struggled with this one. She never made it from a recipe herself and she almost never measured, so she had to guess as to whether she used a tablespoon vs. a teaspoon of this or that.
At a different time, she dictated a recipe for the same dish to my sister, but there were differences. In the photo I’ve taken of my version of the recipe, which is much splattered with tomato sauce, you can see some ingredients written in different ink from the rest. These I added when my sister and I compared notes after I complained that I just couldn’t get the recipe right.
In the years since, I’ve come close to recreating the spaghetti sauce of my childhood. What’s simmering on my stove now smells like what I remember. But it won’t be the same. I’ll never be able to adjust the recipe for what’s missing.