“Well some guy told you that you couldn’t dance
And you been carrying that forever
I’m the kinda fella needs a, a second chance
C’mon baby let’s boo-ga-loo together…”
– John Hiatt in Stolen Moments
With Pluto in Capricorn the entire collective is having something akin to a Pluto Moon transit. I wrote about my Pluto Moon transit over these last years and people really liked those posts, they were moved by them so this motivates me to continue to share.
Now the Moon shows your roots, your home, your emotions, nurturing and food and like. I grew up cooking. The soldier grew up around women cooking and the women were cooking recipes handed down throughout generations.
I started cooking from before I can remember but I took over all the cooking for my family by the time I was 8 years old. Yes, I mean I was responsible for all the family meals, breakfast, lunch, if we were home from school and dinner. My father cooked on the weekends some of the time or we cooked together but mostly I cooked all the meals as well as organized grocery lists – basically I ran the house.
I didn’t realize this was odd at the time. I was the youngest girl in my family so it made no sense but this job fell to me the same way Henry’s funeral did and I performed.
There were no Italians anywhere. I remember riding the bus home from school one day and people were talking about what’s for dinner. I said I was making pasta and no one knew what pasta was. It was very embarrassing.
A 1/2 Italian kid, Billy (this is for Annalisa, she will remember) told me you had to call it “spaghetti”. “No one knows, pasta,” he said. “All these people know is SpaghettiOs. She’s making SpaghettiOs,” he yelled to kids on the bus. I laughed. We didn’t eat any fuckin’ Spaghettios in my house. No cans of mush for us so that was ridiculous but sure enough, all the kids were nodding so what the hell. I learned something that day and this was it: Don’t say “pasta”. At 15, I went to town.
I eventually got settled, got some pots and pans and started cooking of course. It is now a million years later and the soldier wants me to make him some sauce. It’s my families red sauce he wants and I have refused to make it for him for almost 3 years now. “I forgot,” I say. “You would not like it,” I add. “Er… it’s not very good.”
“It is so good, P and I want you to make me some.”
“No. No, I don’t remember.”
Now it’s pretty hard to forget how to make something you made twice a week for years and years but I have tried to do this. I have tried mightily because when I got to town I found out something was wrong with my family or at least the sauce we made which was always, always served with rigatoni the likes of which you can barely find anymore.
It’s all thin spaghetti now isn’t it? Quick cooking and very anti-Italian as I understand it. Italian cooking as I understand it, is hearty. And you need a substantial noodle to carry the sauce I grew up making otherwise it would be… ridiculous. Rustic I guess would be the word but anyway I explained to the soldier, something was wrong with the sauce.
“Well it has butter not oil,” I said. ‘We didn’t have any oil, we were poor? I don’t if that is why. I went to California and my uncle, he’s rich. He’s rich as hell, he can surely afford whatever he wants to eat and he made sauce and used butter too. Two cubes,” I added. “I told my father that and he was pissed, he uses one cube. See? It’s got to be their mother’s recipe and probably her mother’s.”
“What’s wrong with butter?”
“I don’t know. It’s not how people make sauce.. these days, or in this community or society. And there is another problem. We use stew meat and I guess no one else does. You know. Beef? Pieces of beef cut up? We never had meatballs. Well, I guess we had them once in my life maybe. I think my stepmother might have made some when she came around but my family never did. We made the sauce with stew meat and… well I didn’t know this was weird. But I made it for some guy one time and he flipped out. That’s how I found out.”
“What was his problem?”
“I don’t know. I guess he thought he had am Italian girlfriend and she was going to cook him something he expected… some spaghettiOs or something and instead I came out from the kitchen with the only sauce I knew how to make and he thought it was awful. Awful as in inedible,” I added. “What is this?”
I laughed. “I don’t know. That sauce was my favorite thing in the world to eat. I thought it was great. I loved it but after that happened… well I haven’t made it since. I was informed it was not how sauce should be made so I learned to make sauce the way other people do and Italian food the way people expect it. See, we didn’t eat lasagna. We just didn’t eat any of that stuff. We ate gnocci but it was the same sauce. I mean there was only one sauce but I got to town and I could see I better get with the program…”
He’s been trying to get me to make him some sauce for 3 years now. I have finally decided to do it and yeah, I do remember how.
I sure hope it doesn’t suck and I sure hope you get the point. I really don’t think you should let someone poison your roots.
Have you even been poisoned at the root?
aw Elsa I make pasta sauce with butter. I was the youngest in charge of all the cooking… even four years old I knew how to make dinner, 8 years old, that was my job. House work too. I bet your sauce is awesome! I really like it with stew meat. I lived in a place where no one understood the food we ate. I just tried not to mention it, and not have anyone over. We had no couch. I had no bed, just a mattress, only two pairs of pants.Anyway.
I’ll be thinking of you. Lots of Love!
and yes to answer your question, all kinds of people have tried to poison me
Well someone is trying to heal me… pretty damned nice. I’ve no idea why they call the man an asshole.
this makes me really happy!
this makes me really happy!
I mean the healing part.
Oh Elsa I just love this story. Here is mine. I was born and raised in and Italian catholic family just outside NYC. When I left home, I landed in a cornfield in Iowa. Driving down the highway I saw a sign on a cafe that said they sell pizza. I thought oh that sounds good, so I decided to give them a call. Them,”Hello Roadside Cafe” Me: “You sell pizza” Them: “Yes”
Me: “What kind of pies do you have?” Them: “We have apple, blueberry . . . .”
I would love to have your sauce with stew meat. You’ve got me hungry.
daisy, that’s funny. I gotta find some thick honkin’ rigatoni. The kind it takes 15 min to boil, not 8 for white people in a hurry! I am so old.
I had the same problem this year as I did last year with the soldier’s nacatamales…
“You can’t find any string. You know, string? Just plain utility string, cotton string to tie the tamales. it’s like a speciality item.”
“Speciality item?” The soldier couldn’t believe his ears. “How is string a speciality item?”
“Well it is. They don;’t have it, no one does. You can’t even get kite string or something because it’s winter. What if I wanted to tie turkey legs together, I asked? What am I supposed to use? Don’t you have some string somewhere? Plain cotton string? They look at me like I am insane.”
“Well do they have string?”
“I guess. But not cotton. Not string like we’re used to that is good for everything. They have… nylon string, maybe? String made from bubbling crude oil is what they have and that is no good for cooking. You don’t want to boil tamales in nylon.. oh never mind. I mean I can’t use thread. What a bunch of bullshit.”
“Boy, P, we’re really geezers. It’s like going in the store asking for saddle soap for your horse’s saddle I guess. say what? Get the fuck out of here.”
I laughed and remembered his remark last year. No more newspapers either, which makes it impossible to send a Sicilian message. Somehow a email “he’s dead” is just not the same as a fish wrapped in newsprint, now is it?
: ) NO it is not. Try a bakery maybe, if they still tie cake boxes. I have a spool here, I use it to tie my braciole. If you want I can send you some.
I am going home for Christmas, my aunt is making homemade ravioli. AND no her name is not Chef Boy Ardee!
And to think I used to laugh at grandmama for her string balls.
daisy – I want your recipe for braciole! Please!
No prob, gotta dig it out, and its yours.
I get the sauce! I would love some! I get the string thing. There seems to be a lot of great things from the past that have either been marginalized or just plain forgotten.
What I am trying to grok is the Pluto moon connection. I mean I think I get the general drift, so let’s see if I can ask a good question. I guess what I would appreciate is some elaboration. I am going through a Pluto opposition to my Cancer Moon and it’s a long transit.
Like the idiot that did not like your food. The poison was not just his inability to enjoy your excellent cooking, but that he had to tell you that it was inedible?
So a natural defense to a Pluto Moon transit would be something like. I do not accept your intolerance, inflexibility and non acceptance. I know that my cooking is excellent, it’s your attitude that is poisonous!
Sorry, I am flailing about here.
No your not Orlando. At that age I would have felt and responded the same way. Today I would respond with a “Kiss my ass, more for me!”
Has anyone seen my chiron lately? LOL
it occurred to me, that guy probably had me in as a hologram. That is he had an Italian girlfriend in his past and I was supposed replicate her. Damned Neptune.
Yes, I have. My ex husband hated me singing – anywhere, any time, for any reason unless I was performing and guess what? He wouldn’t be there.
As a result I didn’t sing for years. Can you imagine?! 🙁 But I’m better now!
“when I got to town I found out something was wrong with my family or at least the sauce we made”
oooh yes I relate to this. it still makes my heart twinge because my childhood memories are so close, they always will be.
it took me until i was almost 30 (SR) to say out loud how uncomfortable i am having people in my home, as in they cross the threshold and i am nervous.
both my parents had no family (except for my mum’s mum who’s dead) and they both have no friends to speak of, so we never had visitors growing up. and i mean, NEVER.
i felt inadequate about it for years, and i know my sisters (almost 40) still do–why aren’t mum and dad more social etc.
a recluse is a recluse is a recluse is a recluse.
oooh, that sounds good! i can’t eat most pasta anymore (just fake wheat free stuff) but… sauces!
(ate for yeeeears in the kitchen of someone taught by an italian grandmother.)
i have saddle soap in my house. today. for my boots, but still. it’s good stuff.
yeah. i have. still trying to put my finger on the details of it, though.
You want your meat rectangular in shape so you can roll it. Flank steak works best, but can be hard to find, so round is ok. You want it thin.
I like to take my cast iron skillet and pound the piss out of it, you know flatten it thin. Of course wipe it off when your done. Then I mix grated romano cheese, chopped garlic, lots of parsley, and black pepper. Depending on my craving sometimes I add provolone to it. My girls, when they where young didn’t like the romano and provolone so I substituted parmesan and mozzarella. But romano is the best. Spoon spread the mix on the flattened steak, roll and tie.
Now fry them in the cast iron fry pan in olive oil, with more garlic. You want them browned on all sides. Then add your sauce, cover the pan with a lid or foil and bake until the meat is soooo very tender. 325 for 2 hours usually does it. About 30 minutes before they are done(fork tender) I start my water for the gnocchi.
It is also very, very good with pork. But that is hard to find. I don’t have measurements for the above because I just kind of add and taste as I go along.
Let me know what time is dinner.
If italian isn’t your thing and you prefer meat and potatoes then what I do is take the beef just like above and instead of the cheese mix I place a strip of pepper bacon on the meat, a lengthwise sliced dill pickle and then roll and tie. Fry in butter, until browned. Add a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar and your favorite beef gravy, cover and bake as above. 30 minutes before the meat is done start the water for your mashed potatoes.
In the above the tomato sauce tenderizes the meat.
In this recipe the vinegar in the pickle and in the gravy tenderizes the meat.
Almost forgot, before you start beating your meat, place it between wax or butcher or freezer paper. If you don’t you will be pissed off at me for leaving that out.
What happens when your own roots try to poison you at the roots?
I think that’s what happened to me. Since then, I’ve not encountered much poison about this sort of thing from others at all. But it’s true that I’ve kept trying to find my roots, anyway – an absorbing, ongoing quest for me…
daisy – thank you! 🙂
Holy God Daisy, that sounds amazing!
I grew up in an Irish Catholic family around women who cooked and baked EVERYTHING. You just didn’t have bought, pre-prepared stuff. My mother would be turning in her grave if she knew I occasionally gave my son take-out.
My father’s best friend was Italian, and we went to Italy every year on holiday so I had that influence from an early age. The Italian mother of an old boyfriend once told me the secret to a great pasta sauce is to make it the day before and let it sit so the flavours get really strong.
My mother’s best friend was a great big Swiss lady who loved cooking – she used to turn up at our house on regular occasions with things like a box full of crepes just out of the oven, with the whipped cream and secret recipe sauce to go with them. She was a great one for secret recipes that had been handed down the generations. Every Christmas she would give us a box of special Swiss biscuits her sister used to send. The recipe was a secret of course.
Scorpio moon cooking – secrets!
Then I moved to England where they think the Irish live on potatoes. Endless ‘jokes’ about potatoes and Guinness. And I hate Guinness. Oh well. I live in Wales now.
(No offence meant to any english people reading, just relating my experience.)
On potatoes, Martha Stewart recently insulted Rachel Ray and the soldier went on a tirade from hell. Called her a potato-eating, blah, blah, blah…
Later that same day, Annalisa went off after someone made a remark about dressing like an Italian divorcee. Hysterical tirades, both of them.
See, you have to have fun in private these days but it can be done. 😉
I came home to lamb osso bucco that my man had been stewing all afternoon–and he’s not even Italian, but boy does he know how to reach my Italian heart…errr stomach? 🙂
My Cancer moon will not allow others to poison my roots, that’s for sure…super protective…
Ain’t that the truth 🙂
Re: Post 20 from Daisy
I am SO making that when I get out of hospital and can whack a cast iron skillet on a steak! That sounds fabulous!
My roots are strong, thanks to being raised by three women from the backwoods of West Virginia. In terms of food, not a big deal, because it was fried green tomatoes, liver and onions (OMG…I hate liver and onions), and huge pots of pinto beans cooked with ham hock and onions that we would have for “dinner” then munch on for days.
But in terms of my roots – I still have the twang I grew up around, despite never living in West Virginia a day in my life. They never lost theirs, and we all lived together. People in WI make fun of my accent. Which I don’t have.
The biggest poisoning in my life was that we were poor, and my ex was all about making money. Money was everything. And by God, it’s NOT. I’m learning the way I was raised was tough, but we were happy. That’s better than money. At least until the bills are due…
for some reason I can’t stop thinking about this post. I think the best thing about the soldier wanting you to make the sauce, is that he wants to experience the real genuine you and that is the most beautiful thing in the world.
My SO actually won me completely over by preparing me braciole in red sauce. We had been seeing each other for a month or so. The courtship had been pretty much built on food and wine, and was going on spelendidly. But the moment I entered his tiny appartment one Saturday and recognized the aroma of braciole cooking, that was it. I’ve cooked Italian food since I was a teenager (I too started cooking early, must be the Virgo rising, with Ceres conjunct), lived in Italy and with an Italian family. That said, braciole in red sauce take hours, and I had only ever eaten them prepared by my Italian “mamma” (she is pugliese, btw, and hadn’t cooked an egg before marrying, but is true to her roots by using horse meat in braciole).
Thanks daisy. Oh… and my chiron is moving along so good it’s almost caught up with itself.
Unfortunately, I got healed and poisoned by the same person. How strange…
Sometimes I wonder if he knows how his careless remarks killed much of the woman he at one point loved. I think not. I think he thought I was stronger. Hell, I thought I was stronger! *snort* But, like I told my therapist, there’s only so long you can listen to someone tell you how wrong you are before you start believing them, no matter how stubborn you are. (And I’m very fuckin’ stubborn!)
There’s cracks in the foundation, for sure. But I’ve got mortar, rebar, and stones, and when I’m through I’ll be stronger than I’ve ever been before. Watch me. 😉
I thought we were so normal until I got to town…. Whoa. We were not typical by any stretch.
hah! now i know what that rolled up meat stuff was!
Try a garden store for cotton string. If they carry organic stuff, they may have it.
And Tinkyada makes very good wheat-free rice pasta.
This is a funny story. I live in NYC and rustic Italian (as in Italian-Italian, not Italian-American) is very trendy in the fancy restaurants these days. Elsa I’m sure there’s an online gourmet store that sells the pasta you need. And I’ve been hearing about people cooking with butter now. I personally prefer to make my sauces with butter or cream, and leave the olive oil for dipping bread.
Have I ever been poisoned at the root? With regard to food, I went through a health kick for several years. I ended up fatter and with more health problems. What’s up with that? I figure I was eating food that the establishment deemed optimal for the “average American” – but there is no such thing! I went back to eating the recipes my mom cooked for me and not only did I lose 30 lbs, I have much more energy.
i sometimes cook with butter too, we have a kind of oily buttery sauce type of brand you buy at the store. if i run out of oil, i use butter all the time. or half/half. lol no one is the wiser. 😀 it still tastes good. If people complain about anything, like if i mix food, i always say, it all goes in one stomach right? all mixed. they always laugh, but then later they start saying, what if i like my food separate before i mix it? pffft well… eat anyway! enough yapping and more chewing.
Just stumbled on this — what a treat! I grew up on string-tied braciole and the stuffed pork both simmered in the thick red “gravy” for hours. The aroma of the stuffed pork sizzling in the cast iron frying pan is unforgettable, instantly evokes sun dappled greenery outside the kitchen windows and Arthur Godfrey playing on the radio. My mom did make meatballs too, ground stew beef seasoned with the same ingredients as the braciaole plus an egg and torn up stale Italian bread that was first soaked in water and squeezed out. Also browned on all sides before simmering, or made tiny and cooked fully to serve with fried peppers and onions. Delicious roots!
My husband’s birthday was Friday. This was the meal he requested… and received of course! 🙂