Sunday, November 04, 2007

Messy Italian Cooks and a little eye candy


Lynne was on my mind when I saw this tiny red rosebud today. It’s for you, Linne.

Every two months, my husband makes homemade spaghetti sauce and it’s not the kind you get in most Italian restaurants. It’s rich. When you pour it over pasta there are no fat chunks of tomato or watery puddles on your plate. A supply that will last us through Thanksgiving and Christmas simmered on the stove today for several hours. The pot is loaded with sauce (we call gravy) derived from his Mother’s recipe and lots of garlicy meatballs, mild Italian sausage, and pork bones. He begins his cooking before sunrise, usually. The aroma wakes me.

His Italian family includes several restaurant owners in downtown Baltimore’s famous Little Italy where you can have a great meal and watch a bocce ball game under night lights. Many of the best cooks have passed on over the years, including his Mother, aunts and uncles, and their famous meals have been taken over by newer recipes and menus. Little Italy is timeless and will always please.


His sauce is delicious. I appreciate it. He thinks he cleans up the mess but he doesn’t, really. When I cook, I clean very well as I go. It’s tradition that I do the final clean-up when the sauce is simmering. Well, I wonder… did he sneeze with a mouthful of sauce that speckled the microwave, stove top and the ceramic behind the oven? A film of olive oil and grease coated all of the surfaces. How nice. As I walked around the kitchen assessing the damage, I crushed bits of garlic underfoot and tracked fresh parsley into another room. After the week I had, it was just too much to take. I had to get out of that kitchen for an hour in the sun.





The water temperature is below 50 at night but I fed them a little anyway. Already, they are sluggish.



Sweet eye candy.


Very sweet. I remember fretting over not having Gold Finches when my feeders were new last winter. They know me now!


Thank you, Goldie. I needed you.

The White Throated Sparrows are back! Oooo, I’ll be back to see you later! Juncos have returned and the activity around the feeders is entertaining. I’ve heard new bird songs but I need good binoculars to find them. Sigh…

Oh, I guess thirty minutes slipped by quickly when I heard the screen door open…ugh. The messy Italian cook let the dogs out. I stomped my foot!


They only wanted to be with me and to scare the pigeons away.

Sweet, kissable Bella. She’s so soft. Still limping, because Bella needs to learn to stop flying off beds and chairs and sofas.


Our dear Chlo, aging gracefully and becoming more loving than ever.


Anonymous said...

I love your little skipper on the flower, your bird photos (yeah on White-throated Sparrow's showing up) and spaghetti!! Hmm

KGMom said...

I love your story of husband cooking spaghetti sauce. Every so often my husband makes a Texas hot weiner sauce--he found the recipe in the newspaper and it's the ONLY thing he cooks. The recipe calls for cumin, so one time he decided to double the amount---woo hoo--was that hot!
Love all your outdoor photos. And I love the doggie faces! So patient they are.

Melsie14 said...

I love your eye candy! The flower pics are absolutely beautiful!!

JeanMac said...

You take very good pics when "upset".

Unknown said...

Men! Can't live with them -- can't live without their spaghetti sauce, right? Sigh. Glad you took a break and got some fresh perspective . . . we *all* need it!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Mmmm...sounds a lot like what my Italian-American grandmother used to make, only every Saturday night (for Sunday dinner). I haven't made an hours-long gravy in forever though. Maybe this weekend as now I'm craving some.

My OH (who is Italian--I live in Italy with him) is the same way about the mess. Like you, I clean up as I go, but with him...nah. Splatters everywhere, although now, it's quite cute when he splatters or drops something on the stove as he apologizes when it happens. Not clean it up, mind you, but apologizes ;)

Jayne said...

At least yours will cook something!! LOLOLOL! I'd much rather clean than cook myself, but I understand your frustration as I usually clean as I go too. Beautiful outside images! My goldfinches are back too finally. Hugs to you Mary. :c)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your eye candy has made me HUNGRY!!

I hate to say it but I am the same type of cook as your husband. I get stuff everywhere when I cook. I couldn't have carpet in my kitchen for sure. I have the clean up duty too.

Do your fish have names? They are gorgeous.

Your sweet little BT's. Makes me want to pinch those sweet little cheeks.

Mary said...

The birds are beautiful. Enjoy your pasta sauce!!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Thank you for thinking of me May. The rosebud is perfection. Art makes a terrible mess too. He makes pancakes quite often and drips of the batter harden on every surface! I usually have to use a butter knife to pry the hard stuff off.

Julie Zickefoose said...

I'm thinking your skipper is a Common Roadside Skipper, but it's so late!
Thank you for the kissable doggeh pictures. Oh, what sweet puppies.
Some weeks you've had lately. Sometimes the stuff comes down so thick and fast you have to put on a hat. Hang in there. The moon is in weird.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
Your flowers are so pretty and so are your fish, but I love those BTs the best! It's great that they like to have their pictures taken.

Nice photo of the WT Sparrow, I'm glad some of your winter birdies are starting to arrive.

My spousal unit doesn't cook, but he can sure make a mess in the microwave with popcorn or heating up a piece of pizza....think it's a guy thing??

dguzman said...

Beautiful photos and yummy-sounding (minus the meat, thanks!) food! Good doggies.

Mary said...

Monarch, thanks :o) The spaghetti was great.

Donna, so the only thing your husband makes is too hot Texas hot weiner sauce? LOL!

Melsie, I had a little fun with the camera yesterday. Thanks!

Jean, sometimes I NEED to take pics. It clears a headache real fast.

Liza Lee, I should learn how to make the sauce after all of these years. I have an idea of how to make it...

Sognatrice, welcome! Living in Italy you are surrounded by the best pasta on earth. I wonder if you are white or red gravy (north or south)?

Jayne, HA HA HA. He makes sauce and scrambled eggs. That the extent of his cooking! Oh, and Jello, too. Always a mess.

Lisa, I used to name a few fish. When I lived in Delaware I had a 14 inch long Koi named Big Boy. Real creative, huh?

Mary, thanks. That Goldfinch made my day.

Lynne, it seems nobody around here lives with a Felix type. Just a bunch of Oscars.

Julie, it's been a week to remember, at least. I just hold on to those kissable BT faces.

Ruthie, yep, your Spousal Unit sounds like Oscar, too.

Delia, oops! Sorry about the meat! The pork is so tender...mmmm.

Chrissie said...

The sauce does sound wonderful, shame about the mess :-) Great photos as always Mary. Your fish are looking great!

The Quacks of Life said...

lurvely photos mary

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Enough sauce to last until Thanksgiving? That part is nice. I think outside is the best place to be. You have so many delightful birds to play with. My Gold Finches are back too. I so love seeing your Skipper!
Your pups are so sweet! Aging gracefully is the ticket.
May this week be full of fun and rest! All is well.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
All is very well...
Chat soon.

Kerri Farley said...

Oh Mary, I just love your posts! Your husband making spaghetti is like my husband making Chili. Whew... it is an all day affair... but well worth it.

Your pictures are absolutely stunning!

Speaking of Baltimore... my sister lives at the Inner Harbor... I am going to visit her this weekend.
Any particular LI restuarants that we should try out??

NatureWoman said...

Mmmmm, nothing like homemade sauce, mmmmm. . . Love your eye candy, too, Mary.

Susan Gets Native said...

Those Eye-Ties....they love to eat, don't they? Geoff's family are a bunch of pasta-eating crazies.
At least your man knows how to cook. When Geoff boils spaghetti, it comes out crunchy in the middle.

dmmgmfm said...

I finally caught up a bit on your blog. So glad Michael and Billy got jobs right away. I hope all the people working with them had the same luck. Your photos are wonderful.


Larry said...

Really terrific flower and bird photos!-Don't complain about the mess.-Don't you know that spattering sauce is part of the plan when guys cook? That's our way of marking our territory.

Mary said...

Beautiful photos. I love birds and that reminds me I should fill the feeder. I hate to go outside because of the cold and wind, but must think of those birds that are searching for food.

Loved the story about your hubby making dinner. My hubby only BBQs. He can make dinner if he wishes, but only if I'm not available. Then he makes it for both of us. Sweet!

Blessings for a great day. I alway enjoy visiting.

Susan said...

wow - a cook who cleans as she goes - I'm impressed!

Mary said...

Those Bostons of your's are so cute!
what kind of camera do you use to take these lovely pictures?

Mary said...

Mary in Ontario, thanks for visiting today! You are lucky to have a husband to shares the cooking! "Sauce" is the only food my husband makes outside of scrambled eggs :o)

Wow, there are too many Marys here...

Mary in Florida, I use a Kodak EasyShare Z612. It's a fabulous camera but I think I'm ready for a camera with a more powerful zoom. I will always love this camera. It does take wonderful pictures - clear and sharp.

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

wonderful photos of everything. xo nita

LostRoses said...

Now that's the kind of spaghetti sauce (gravy) I like. Lucky you, except for the cleanup. Was that supposed to be a dirty kitchen? When mine is "clean" it doesn't look that good. Great outdoor shots, Mary, you always capture the moment.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Hi Mary
Sorry to hear you've been snowed under ( a bad metaphor for Carolina, I guess!) but I loved your post today. How lucky you are to have an Italian cooker husband. I'm licking my lips just thinking about it.
We are in Hilton Head just now so not that far from you. I just got my camera out this morning for the first time to try to get a sunrise.

Peg Silloway said...

Wonderful eye candy, Mary. And obviously so many of us can relate to the husband-in-the-kitchen experience! I'm one of the lucky ones - my DH cooks dinner just about every night. But I do the clean up, or we'd have the health department declaring us a hazmat site in about a week.

I'm just catching up on a lot of blog reading. So sorry to hear about your husband's company - I know how devastating that can be. But you've also shown that good, talented people will always be in demand. I admire your strength and ability to keep seeing the beauty of water lillies and gracefully aging dog friends.