Dedicated to all my cousins :)
Chances are that if you are of Italian heritage you have spent at least a day or two this Summer making sauce for the pasta...as in, from scratch! And chances are, if you have an Italian friend, they have had to miss some social event or other because of this need to make sauce.
Admittedly, today my mum and mother in-law made sauce for Sam and I...he was at work and I had a problem with my back (slowly on the mend). Thanks Mums!! But I digress...
|Enough for just my parents and us (mind you, we still had a hundred bottles left over from the previous year)|
The tomatoes are then ready for processing. They are put through the machine once, twice, sometimes even three times (this is at the discretion of the elders...the rest of us are usually saying "that's plenty" so we can hurry up and finish). I must add that the machinery has come along in leaps and bounds and is now a lot quicker. A rich, bright red sauce is soon ready to be bottled.
|Sometimes there are no children around and an adult has to do the job.|
I don't have a picture, but the next step is the capping of the bottles. Beer bottle caps (bought new of course) have to be securely fastened on the bottles. Thankfully, there's machinery to help with that also these days. My mum carried such a contraption in her hand luggage from Italy one year! The capping is very important because if the bottles are not capped properly, they spoil and the prized sauce is lost. Thus, only trusted individuals are given this job.
I wish I had taken more pictures but I left production last year to take the kids to a party. The final step is placing the bottles very carefully in giant drums which then have a fire lit under them (natural or gas) and the bottles are boiled for hours until they are ready. It is during this stage that bottles which have not been capped properly may burst, causing a bit of a mess within the drums.
Participants get an obligatory plate of pasta at the end of this procedure, which everyone loves because the sauce is super fresh.
So that's it I guess. Some families add an extra step of boiling or steaming the tomatoes before bottling, but the above procedure is how you make sauce in a nutshell. It's not all fun and games. Whilst we do get to have a big get together and gossip session whilst making sauce, there are usually arguments about how to do this and that (even though we do the same thing every year), a bit of complaining here and there and very sore, tired bodies at the end of the day! If anyone doesn't believe me or wants to make sauce despite the hard work it involves, please register for next year's sauce making extravaganza!
But having said all that, I kind of missed not making sauce yesterday. That's either years of indoctrination at work or evidence that my children have definitely driven me insane!
Please don't be shy to add your thoughts about sauce making day to this blog. Who knows if my kids will one day make their own sauce? I want them to read all about it. So if you're an Italian who loves or loathes sauce making, another person who has always yearned to participate in this tradition or even a person who has no idea what I'm going on about, click on "comments" below this post and leave your own perspective.