I grew up in the kitchen. I come from a line of great cooks: my mom's mom (chicken parmesan), my mom (casseroles galore), and my dad (salmon with mango salsa). For a long time my mom's kitchen had a window seat where I would sit and talk while she made dinner. If you've ever read The Five Love Languages, my love language is quality time, and my mom and I spent a LOT of time together in that kitchen. I helped her to an extent, but I never learned how to make much. When my husband and I got married, I kid you not, for the first six months we ate chicken or ground beef every other night. I did different things with them, but that's about all we ate.
One of the things I admire the most about my husband is that he doesn't complain. Like, ever. Not about his job, not about my food, not about the weather, nothing. I knew I wasn't a great cook, but not because he told me. But then one day after we were married he went home for a wedding. Somehow we got to talking and I learned that he had told his mother, his mother, that I only made chicken and hamburger. He was not complaining. He actually followed up that comment with something like "But it's all really good." But, I flipped out, and my poor husband had no idea why. Not that my mother-in-law has ever given me any reason to flip out. I'm sure she just said, "I'm glad she's a good cook!" and moved on. She's great like that. But still. Jeremy grew up LOVING his mom's cooking, and I grew up hoping my husband would love mine just as much. Oh boy.
That was the moment I realized it was time to learn something new. So I did. And then I made something else. And something else. And then, as time went on, I realized that I really liked making all these new things. I gained a lot of confidence, due in major part to my husband happily eating all of my mistakes. All those years of watching my family finally paid off when I realized I knew how to do a lot more than I thought I did. And now I, who HATED cooking for so long, absolutely love it.
My mom is famous for her spaghetti - it is amazing. My husband ate it zillions of times while he was in college and loved it. I started experimenting with her recipe and doing my own variations. Then one day I changed one more thing and my husband said, "This is even better than your mom's!"
Um, WAAAAHOOOOO! He's probably the only person in the world who thinks that, but I don't care. I felt like I had arrived!
Now to this day, I can't make the food Jeremy grew up eating taste like he remembers, even when I follow the recipes to a T. And I don't expect I ever will - who can ever match your own mom's cooking, really?
Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
~1 pound of hot Italian ground sausage
~2-3 table spoons of red cooking wine
~1 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes
~1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
~1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
And here comes the part where I guess on the measurements, so bear with me.
~1.5 teaspoons of garlic powder
~1.5 tablespoons of parsley
~1 tablespoon of oregano
~2 teaspoons of basil
~1.5 teaspoons of rosemary
~1/2 teaspoon of thyme
~1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
Brown the sausage in a large skillet with a dash of garlic and parsley. When it is almost done, add the wine. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, paste, and all other spices to taste. Stir and let it simmer slowly for as long as you like. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavors will be.
After I wrote this, I went back and doubled the measurements on a bunch of the spices, and I'm still not sure it's right. Just keep tasting and sniffing.
Also, I got so excited to eat my pasta, I forgot to take a picture until it was half-way eaten. Sorry about that.