My Life Journey By Way Of Food: The weekend Ritual

by admin on February 16, 2011

The other day I woke up wanting to make a pot of gravy (South Philly for tomato sauce). Every time I make gravy my childhood memories are front and center.
From as far back as I could remember, every Saturday morning my mother would get up early and go to my grandmother’s house to help her make the meat gravy for both our families for the week. My Aunt Sylvia lived with my grandmother so she was already there. My grandmother directed and my mom and aunt would follow. They would get started around 7:30.
My grandmother’s recipe for the meat gravy was almost always the same. When my family wanted a different gravy they would make it the day the wanted to use it.
The meat gravy included meatballs, beef brocolla, veal shin bone, pork shoulder, and a small piece of beef. Some times my grandmother would include a brocolla made with pig skin (this was a family treat and one of my favorite dishes), three cans of Tutto Rosa crushed tomatoes and three cans of Contadina tomato paste. I always loved this label.
The other ingredients (all approximate and use according to your own taste) were 1 bunch of parsley, oregano, Large leave basil, (summer time) 10 cloves of garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper,Locatelli cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, clove, Mazola corn oil, and Bertolli olive oil. In the next blog I will describe how the gravy was made.
My family wasn’t the only one that made gravy on Saturdays. Some made it on Sunday mornings to.
One of the wonderful memories I have about this Saturday and Sunday morning neighborhood ritual was the aromas that would waft through the air from the different houses. I would walk up the street and sniff the fragrances from Margaret’s, and Sophie’s and Helen’s house on Saturdays; and on Sundays on the way to 9 o’clock mass I could smell Celies’s, and Maria’s and Carmella’s.

After mass I would rush with the rest of the kids to the New York Bakery on 11th and Daly streets to buy slices of my favorite tomato pie. They still make it every Sunday and every once in a while I go down to visit and sit with my mom and her friends and have pizza for Sunday breakfast.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

brother February 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

you didn’t mention Celie’s probably the best of all of them (including granmom’s and in my humble opinion) and your probably too young to remember but granmom initially used to make it on Sunday mornings also. And I often got stuck with the onerous job of grating the week’s worth of locatelli (macaroni cheese) They are good memories.


admin February 17, 2011 at 6:34 am

I do remember Celie’s and that she used less beef. And don’t forget that I took over the job of grating the week’s worth of locatelli. I use to great it on Sunday mornings and would try to get the smell off my hands before I went to Wagner’s ball room to dance.


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