Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not from the back of the can

I have a long, disappointing history with family recipes. I’ll spare you (or, really, me) the gory details. Let’s just say I was seriously crushed w hen I discovered that most of our “family recipes” came from the back of the box/jar/can of whatever the main ingredient in the dish was. Don’t get me wrong, my mother is a FANTASTIC cook, and anyone who’s eaten at her house would tell you so. I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for blowing her cover…

There’s something romantic, though, about family recipes. About secrets passed down through generations and about only *really* knowing how to follow a recipe if you’ve watched your Grandma in the kitchen.

Well, folks, I am happy to say that yesterday I made my very first dish from my very first family recipe. The recipe is barely legible; there’s no ingredients list, no measurements. I can’t tell you the pleasure I took in trying to figure out what “a little bit” of something meant or how much “some” referred to.

My favorite is the one line that says “Puree.” You can’t get more vague! Is this a verb? Am I supposed to puree the ingredients? Is this a noun? What variety of pureed food am I looking for?

But the result – fantastic. And, extremely Italian (well, at least upstate-New York Italian, which is where my family is from) which is a nice bonus. This was the result of my Grandpa’s recipe for tomato pie, and I couldn’t be happier.
Perhaps someday I’ll uncover more of these gems and resurrect my fantasy of having an arsenal of family recipes.

-Mama Spaghetti

P.S. I’d share the recipe, but it really wouldn’t do you any good!

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