11.10.2008

confession and redemption...

I use jarred tomato sauce - all.the.time.

To many people (and nearly all of my own friends) this is unheard of, not done, equal to a culinary sin. Most of my friends are Italian, at least in part. They grew up on homemade sauce and have known how to make it themselves since before they were tall enough to reach the dials on the stove. My mom made her own sauce, too. I have vivid memories of the blue enamel pot of delicious scented red sauce simmering on the stove in my childhood home for hours. It was rarely eaten the same day, instead made ahead of time for meals over the week. The extra was then frozen for another time. Everyone knows sauce (as is true with stews and soups) is better the next day, after the flavors have all melded together.

I've made sauce once or twice in my adult life but, living alone for more than 12 years post-college it just didn't make sense to make a huge pot of sauce for one. So, convenience won and I gave in to jarred sauce. Over and over and over.

Then, I moved in with my fiance and domesticity set in. I've been cooking a lot, baking some and doing the majority of grocery shopping and meal planning for our little family. Dinner has become a thing of pride for me. We've even entertained a few times. This week, we will have another couple over for dinner. It's getting pretty cold here in NY and I want to make comfort food. Something delicious that won't require a half dozen pots and pans - I actually want to entertain AND enjoy the meal with our guests - go figure. So, I'm planning to make baked ziti. However, one of our guests is Italian and I just can't do it. I can't serve my guests (namely one who will know better) jarred sauce. My pride, and the fact that I actually do know how, had me in the supermarket at lunch time buying cans of pureed and crushed tomatoes and a bunch of fresh basil.

Which brings me to this: Penance for years of Classico, Ragu and all brands of jarred sauce and quick-fix meals. A simmering pot of sauce. Homemade. By me. In preparation for a meal that is still two days away. The house smells heavenly!

Crap. I think I might actually be a grown-up.

4 comments:

Monica and the team said...

wow, congrats on the sauce. it looks great and i think i can smell it here ! :D my mother in law makes everything from scratch - no boxes or cans , adds a little stress to cooking for them!

Meg said...

Jen, i commend you on being on top of your game and doing this ahead of time!!! GO you!!! That sauce looks soo good....mmm garlic bread would be tasty to dip in that!! =)

Carrie said...

yum yum! I have a great pasta sauce recipe if you'd like something that is more vegetarian focused...its fabulous...i'm addicted to it!tic

nfaband said...

Mhmmmmm I love homemade sauce, it's 1000 times better than the jar stuff but much like you that's what we typically use just because it's easier sometimes. I'm sure your meal will be wonderful and your friends will not only enjoy their dinner but wonderful company too. Have a great evening.

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