16 November 2010

The Sauce of Contentment

The scent of the weekend's batch of pasta sauce still lingers, tucked away in the nooks and crannies of my house.  This kind of scent has existed, in one form or another, in every place I have ever lived.  It is the scent of warmth and comfort, and of that place where they will always take you in, no matter what.

It is the scent of home.

This edition of sauce was something I did a little different than in recent weeks.  I didn't grate a carrot into my pureed tomatoes, as had been my habit for a long time. So a little of the orange-tinged sweetness wasn't there, and that was okay.  I didn't mince the garlic down into a near-paste, as usual.  This time, I sliced the cloves as thin as I could get them, across the grain, in the hopes that they would break down and melt into the sauce.  I didn't grate the onion this time, either, I simply diced it.

The onions started out in cold oil in the pan, rather than the old 'dump-and-sizzle' of a hot shimmer.  I let them sweat and stew.  I had no fresh herbs, so dried it was, along with a bay leaf, some salt, ground black pepper and a small amount of mildly hot red pepper flakes.  I bloomed them in the hot oil before I poured in the tomatoes.

I know what you are thinking: its the end times, he's getting it all backwards!  For a brief instance, I questioned my choices as I watched the herb flecks darken up in the pan.  I had a brief shiver when I thought that this wasn't going to turn out well, and I would end up eating another mistake.  I put those thoughts out of my head and let the sauce simmer.  It would be what it was meant to be, no more, no less.  What it was meant to be, was a measure of home.  In that, it succeeded.

Later, with a full belly, it seemed to me that I had finally trusted my instincts, and it paid off.  I made it home.


  1. home is so much more a beautiful concept than any I know.

  2. ahhh, love a good sauce - the lack of a good growing season for tomatoes here this year meant only 6 quarts of sauce for the season. gasp! so tomatoes will be like a fine bottle of wine for me this year!

    add a little gorgonzola :)

  3. I can just imagine that lovely aroma. A good and marvelous thing, indeed, especially knowing you created it.

    I tried something new last week. I hope the raccoons who raid my garbage enjoyed it, because that's where it went. I usually do not fail so spectacularly. But such dismal error just lends a certain je ne sais quoi to my general air, I think. Yeah, I'm gonna go with that.

    "Bloomed them in the hot oil" appeals to my poetic sense. It sounds like a metaphor for life. I may steal it, and then we'll fight, out in the street, like yokels. I'll be wrong as wrong can be, but I'm the girl, so everyone will call you a brute and chase you away and comfort me. Aren't you glad I visited?

    I came by way of Rene. Thank you for the lovely read this early morning. :-)

  4. I haven't made homemade sauce in forever! I sounds wonderfully yummy!

  5. yummers. I love a good homemade tom sauce...and those red pepper flakes? Odd thing, I've been adding them to a lot of dishes lately - not much, just a hint, and it has turned out to be just the thing. Do you add any sugar to your sauce? I always do, to cut the acidity, not to make it sweet.

  6. You make your sauce much the way I do ... but instead of the carrot sweetness, (which I never use) , I throw in a tiny dash of cream .. takes the acidity out instead of adding sugar .
    I also like to take a couple of anchovies, add them to the garlic/pepper flakes/oil and let them dissolve, then throw in the tomatoes .. a whole other sauce and so easy !
    un beso to the chef !

  7. It is the scent of home that I like.

  8. When the house is filled with the smell of good cooking, then it has become a home.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...