I loved my mother, and I still miss her years after her passing. That does not, however, mean that my mom was perfect. My mom was a person. A real person, with virtues and flaws.
One thing. My mom was not a good cook. In fact, she was mostly a lousy cook. She did excel with soups – split pea, navy bean, vegetable beef – if you put it on the stove and let it simmer all day – my mom had it down. Oh, and Christmas cookies. Great Christmas cookies. As you can see from this picture, she also had a real knack for using every pot, pan, dish, and tool in the kitchen to make a meal.
My mom’s worst dish was spaghetti.
You may wonder how someone could screw up spaghetti. Wonder no more.
My mom canned her own tomatoes. (I am pretty sure my hatred of most things tomato comes from hot summer days in a house filled with the smell of boiling tomatoes. Urp.) I don’t know if my mom added salt to her canned tomatoes, but I kind of doubt it.
My mom had a long history of not adding any kind of spice to her cooking. This was not her fault. Like me, she grew up in Michigan where salt is considered an exotic spice.
So my mom’s spaghetti sauce consisted of taking a quart of canned (unseasoned) tomatoes and half of a package of Velveeta cheese (cheese? well, cheese-ish), putting them into the blender and hitting the whip-the-shit-out-of-it button.
The result was a light orange, cantaloupe-colored liquid, which was poured over the spaghetti without benefit of basil, oregano or salt and pepper.
That was spaghetti in our house.
Love you mom, but your spaghetti was nasty.