As I was making pasta for dinner last night it occurred to me that my mother would be appalled by my "cooking". As the bow-tie pasta boiled in the pan, I contemplated which pasta sauce to open and simmer. There was a time when my mother and I both cooked, and exchanged recipes- and neither of us would have dreamed of opening a jar of pasta sauce. Pasta sauce was something you created and slaved over for at least an hour. You had to chop onions and garlic and peppers, maybe some olives or mushrooms. Add some tomato paste and seasoning. Simmer, taste, simmer, taste. Add some browned Italian sausage or homemade meatballs and simmer some more. After all that you were ready for some rave reviews!
My mother says "Uncle Jack" taught her to make spaghetti sauce. He was the elderly Italian brother of the man we leased our ranch from and he kept a room in the house for his frequent family visits. He was quite a character. He drank wine, ate raw eggs and oysters, and told great stories. He also taught me to roll my noodles instead of cutting them into smaller pieces.
My father says he taught Mom to make spaghetti sauce ("She couldn't boil water before we met!"), which he learned from his mother. Well, I'm not sure how it happened, but Mom's sauce tasted better than Dad's so she must have learned a secret or two somewhere.
We've had several Italian friends over the years and each has made a different sauce, depending I think, upon the region of their family origins. Some sauces were spicy, some sweet, some thick, some thin. We had one friend who scoffed at the idea of cooking his sauce for less than four hours!
Nowadays the subject of pasta sauces either leads to a discussion of brands or restaurants. As I've said before, I seldom cook dinner- I assemble it. I think that most people use the term "cook" only to indicate that some form of fire was involved! LOL Not many of us everyday working people have time to create recipes or even use them very often. Most dinners around here require a few boxes, bags, or jars and a little heat. I'm not going to chop and slice more than two or three ingredients. I'm not going to stand over the stove for more than an hour. And I'm not going to expect rave reviews. Putting dinner on the table is just one of my daily chores...not one of my passions.
And by the way- Classico is my current favorite sauce from a jar.