Recipes are more than words, they’re history

I got a text last week from my son letting me know he and one of his housemates were going to make sauce. He remembered that I use four cans of tomato puree and a can of paste because he used to open the cans and pour it in when he was little. It’s amazing what they remember …

I couldn’t wait to teach him remotely how to make sauce. He does a lot of cooking so I knew he had the skill and motivation to do it. What I did not know was whether he had a pot big enough to handle the puree.

Two texts later I told him to go to the Bed Bath & Beyond across from the Stop and Shop grocery chain and pick up a 16-quart stock/sauce pot.

20120612-154510.jpgGood mother!

Next was the e-mail to his Smartphone with the shopping list followed by the additions once I actually wrote down the steps to making sauce. He called me on Saturday to tell me his sauce came out great; he fed 11 of his friends and still had some to freeze for later. Good son!

It made me think about the summer of 1980 when college graduation was just behind me and wedding bells just ahead when I sat in our kitchen watching my mother make sauce, writing down all of the steps. I still have the sauce stained notebook paper. Here is my collection of recipes.
In our family, we always make our birthday cakes. The bakery does a fine job on any given Sunday but a birthday cake is homemade. Period.

20120612-154830.jpgThe frosting recipe shown here makes the most wonderful, smooth spreadable frosting and brings me back to the days when my mother made all of our cakes from scratch, too.

One of my favorite desserts growing up was sheet pie. It was a great big pie made in a half-sheet cake pan and cut into squares. This is how my mother and aunts used to feed the hungry family every summer weekend when we swam in the pool. The recipe shown in the middle is from my Gramma Russo called lemon cake pie. This is like lemon squares and lemon cake combined.

Ridiculous. I intend to make it this weekend.

When I was finally able to have a Thanksgiving at my house after we were married I learned to make stuffing from my mother. Once again, I watched her to it and wrote it all down.

One of the things I remember all these many years later is that you don’t scrimp on flavor doing anything low-fat for a holiday.

There are 360 days of the year to go low-fat and low-sodium but holidays are special.

20120612-154926.jpgMy mother-in-law makes a delicious stuffing recipe, very different from my mother’s in flavor and simplicity. I now alternate their recipes.

No matter what the holiday, special occasion or Thursday night dinner on the fly, when you make something with love and history it always tastes better. As I have my copy of my mother’s sauce recipe I hope someday my son happens upon the printed e-mail and remembers his first sauce making experience with happy memories of me and his stock pot.