Sundays were always macaroni and meatball days. Mom would start the sauce first thing in the morning. She claimed that my little brother wouldn’t know the next day was Monday if he didn’t have macaroni and meatballs on Sunday.
When I was a young kid, Sundays were spent in Brooklyn at my grandma’s. Grandma worked on the sauce while everyone went to church. I believed mothers got special dispensation from the mortal sin of missing Mass if they were cooking Sunday dinner.
My mom took on this role when Grandma moved out of Brooklyn to Long Island. The sauce was put up first thing in the morning. I would wake up to the wafts of garlic and onion. Mom made the meatballs, cleaned whatever vegetable she had planned as a side dish, and dressed the roast. Company was always expected. Mom was determined to feed the masses. If there were no leftovers, then someone surely went home hungry.
Once the meatballs were mixed, rolled, then baked—not fried, they were plopped into the sauce. You could smell the inviting warmth all day. Heaven.
Lunchtime never really happened on Sundays. Dinner started about 3:00. If someone got hungry before company arrived, before the cheese, olives, and crackers came out, he/she would have to ask Mom what there was to eat. The last thing Mom wanted to do was to stop the prepping and make a cranky kid or hungry husband a sandwich. Instead, Mom would take a fork and stab a meatball simmering in the pot of sauce. She placed a paper towel under the dripping prize.
“Eat this. Don’t make a mess!” she demanded. A meatball on a fork was the best pre-appetizer.
Through the years mom’s grandchildren came to know the Sunday dinner routine. Mom’s most cherished compliment is when her only grandson walks into her house and announces, “It smells like Sunday at Grandma’s!”
He is always rewarded with a kiss and a meatball on a fork.
Welcome to my Blogging A-Z April 2018 Challenge. My theme is Food Stories Remembered because there is always a story when food is involved. I consider myself a good home cook with a great appetite for hearty food. I have witnessed the creation of favorite recipes in friends’ kitchens and have learned from the best—my mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law. Recipes may be included. I am remaining uncommitted on this because when I cook, I seldom measure. If you try any of my recipes, you are cooking at your own risk. Grab a glass of wine. Hope you’re hungry!
Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.