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Welcome to FoodMood blog space. Reflections on my travels, musings, favorite recipes, and the  Bunny Chronicles. Storytelling with joy, sass, self-reflection, and hope.

Sauce or gravy?

Mom's spaghetti sauce, in her special sauce pot.

Spaghettis sauce could be the epitome of why food speaks to me. Growing up in a “Latin” home, 3 parts Italian and 1 part Spanish, I was surrounded by food and it spoke, every dish either had a story or was a story in itself. My aunt’s spaghetti sauce was hot and spicy, my mother’s rich and heavy and my grandmother’s a sweet middle spot; all saying something about their personalities and life experiences.

When I first arrived in the Russian Far East (RFE) it was spaghetti sauce that got my host family and I speaking in the kitchen. With a combination of pantomime, lots of pointing, and peals of laughter we shopped together in the open market for the ingredients over a weeks’ time and then spent an entire afternoon preparing in the kitchen together. This was one of many culinary adventures which sealed our relationship, which continues to this day more than 20 yeas later.

My spaghetti sauce has mutated over the years, as my body and spirit wandered the globe, various ingredients have made their way into my sauce, often depending upon what I have on hand and according to what is in season. One big change in my sauce, no garlic, I simply cannot manage to digest it anymore. For all the recipes included feel free to add garlic unless otherwise indicated. Recently, literally by accident, I made what fooled Claudio into thinking it was Bolognese. Having made chicken chick peas in the crockpot the day before, I had a couple of cups of extra freshly cooked chick peas on hand, Ceci Bolognese is the result for you here. In late summer/early fall when tomatoes are truly in season I love to make spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, basil, and parmesan. This is one of my private pleasures, which I make when Claudio is working as he refuses spaghetti. Most recently, to my mother’s disapproving horror, I have begun to make sauce in the crock-pot, for me it is a given and my recipe for Nicole's vegetarian crock-pot spaghetti sauce is here for you too.

My mom (Linda) has contributed her recipe her too, she claims it is now a distillation of hers, my Aunt’s and my grandmama’s all in one This post is actually in honor or her birthday 15 March! – she writes:

Do you call it sauce or gravy? There is quite a stir going on as to what it's "really" called. If you are Italian, the correct term would be Ragu or Sugo. Are you from Northern or Southern Italy? These are important questions and will determine what type of sauce you make. I'm a mixture of Sicilian, Calabrese, and Napolitano. With so many areas covered, the sauce has become a pleasant blend of all three regions in the recipe here for Mom’s Italian American gravy.

Whichever recipe your choose, and whatever you choose to call it, enjoy this warm, fresh meal full of sunshine with your favorite pasta and your favorite people.

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