Showing posts with label Making Sauce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Making Sauce. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2019

My Italian Father and His Garden...

If you're Italian or grew up Italian American with strong Italian traditions than that would mean someone in your family has an Italian garden. The garden that you grew up knowing with tons of tomato plants, eggplant, basil, zucchini, (from which you got your zucchini flowers to make fritelle) and so on.. what didn't the Italian garden have?

In my case, you were the kid who went to school bragging about your father's garden and how you ate fresh vegetables or how you made tomato sauce at the end of the summer with the tomatoes from your garden. My mother would always prepare nightly dinner in the summers with all fresh vegetables right out of the garden, now a days this is called "GREEN" or "ORGANIC." Who knew my mother and father had me living so green conscious and organic from an early age, to me it was just normal. It still is. So when people talk about starting a herb garden, I kind of snicker not because it's funny, but because I laugh to myself about how lucky I am that I grew up with such a vast knowledge of agriculture, good food, great cooking and always understanding the quality of what you eat.

My father still grows tons of tomato plants as you can see from the photo above and we do in fact make our sauce with those tomatoes from the garden, which lasts the whole winter. It's a tradition we preserved as Italian Americans-- my brothers, sister and myself hold this to be very sacred and consider ourselves extremely fortunate to know how to bottle the sauce in jars. Not only are we making our own sauce, but we've learned to cultivate fruit trees, such as peach trees, which we make our own jam and pies. We know my father is the garden guru, he has neighbors and strangers just stopping in his yard nightly just to ask him questions about how to grow the best garden. Not only does he give advice, but he's giving away plants too, better yet he comes to your yard and plants it for you. It gives him immense pleasure to see others succeed in gardening. No one like my father, that is for sure. So, if you were thinking of actually starting that garden, stop thinking and just do it - there is something extremely therapeutic to gardening and not only that, but it's preserving a very important tradition in our Italian American culture.

** Update my father is now 89 years old and is preparing his seeds for this summer's garden. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Making Jars of Sauce - What it really means to an Italian American..

OK, so now you're saying.. what is she talking about? Now there's a meaning to a jar of sauce? Well, actually yes-- there is. This weekend, I ended up picking tomatoes from my father's garden and making jars of sauce. He's in Italy right now, so in order for the tomatoes not to go to waste, my brother and I teamed up for a little quality sauce time.

One of my fans on the Italian American Girl Facebook fan site, said, "You really keep with traditions." It got me thinking, I do what I have to do because its second nature to me to just see that the tomatoes are grown and the logical thing to do is make jars of sauce. But, this is because its part of my family tradition, our family tradition. Really, I posted the picture of the jars on my Facebook page and all of my friends were saying, "who the hell even does that anymore?" Its a lost tradition for many Italian Americans to make sauce or wine, but one thing remains constant in my family, we keep up the traditions.

That jar of sauce means more than a good sauce for a great meal sometime in the future, but instead it means I cultivated and preserved one more element of my Italian upbringing. Its true even if you go to Italy you don't find many younger generations partaking in this type of tradition unless you go Rome and South. So, it is rare but a gem. That sauce is my love, my family, my identity and my culture.

I posted last year about making the sauce, and it almost seems the meaning with each year gets deeper and deeper. It might be sauce or gravy to you, but in the end its the valuable meaning that becomes common.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lasagna and Real Sauce, It Just Doesn't Get Any Better.....

I am very lucky. Most Americans are so busy with their schedules that making dinner is really the last thing we worry about at night. We settle for frozen dinners, salads, take-out and or any other readily available garbage sold in our food stores. Well, tonight as I arrived to my parents house, I was greeted at the door with an unbelievable smell of sauce, lasagna and my favorite meatballs. Now, the great thing about being Italian is that it doesn't matter what day of the week it is, there is never a reason for cooking great--its a requirement!!

Part of my healthy regiment is due mainly to my upbringing. I work out and lets face it with Italian DNA, its hard to keep weight I have to work extra hard to stay at a healthy weight. Our menu in my household growing up was always more of a vegetarian one, southern Italians are not big meat eaters. We rarely do anything beefy or broiled. We eat lots of versions of salads, rice, beans, pasta, fish and fruit. Aside from that I ban any kind of beef and my mom to accomodate me (cause that's what Italian mothers do) she specially makes me turkey (lean breast) meatballs. Let me tell good. So, I wanted to brag a little about my gourmet tonight and share just a few pics of the preparation of making lasagna and the sauce. My mom is the rockstar of cooking!!! Love her.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Making Jars of Sauce..yes, its called sauce and not gravy!

Many of my friends are absolutely astonished when I reveal what I do on my weekends. If you look at my credentials you would say ok..a professional with a college degree, great career path, a lot of social networks..yada yada. But, the fact of the matter is my credentials are a facade to who I really am. For instance, this weekend I was wrangled into making jars of sauce. My father who is the king of planting vegetable gardens has harvested a ton of tomatoes. So, my mother, who just returned from Italy. (thank God) is now coordinating this tomato cooking, jar bottling event. What I do on a normal weekend, or I should say my part of what myself or siblings are expected to do is so not the normal of the American lifestyle. Needless to say, we bottled a ton of tomatoes for the winter. The next event will be making wine come October. As I continue to blog I will post pictures, videos and basic 'how tos.' I realize these types of traditions are not easy to find information on, so as a courtesy to my fellow-Italo-Americani..I will post as much info as possible. Ciao!