A Southern Grace: pasketti sauce

May 27, 2008

pasketti sauce


Lots of things remind me of my home in Virginia. I had an experience the other day that made me sorely miss the good ol' South. Don't worry, it's nothing tragic. Just a bit of a bummer.

As I was driving through my neighborhood that evening, I was feeling particularly friendly and happy. I met a man walking toward me and gave a smile and a nice wave. In return for my friendliness, I got the ugliest look from this man. Ugly doesn't even cover it. He looked at me like I had kicked a baby or put a cat in the microwave and turned it on. Is it really so strange around here to wave to a person you don't know?

Back home, there are 4 degrees of waving whilst driving. First, we have the head bob. (Can that be classified as a wave? I think so.) The chin goes up, sufficiently acknowledging the other driver or person. This is usually done when there's no time to use the limbs or if you're feeling particularly lazy.

Secondly, we have the finger raise. No, not that finger. This is a step up from the head bob, and involves lifting the pointer finger off of the wheel in greeting.

(Yes, that's a plate masquerading as a steering wheel. You work with what you've got--I really didn't want to go out to my car, sit at the wheel, and snap pictures. Had I done so, I would've been deserving of such filthy looks from passersby.)

Now it's important to note that the first and second degree waves are very often given to complete strangers. Chances are good that you don't even know the person in the oncoming car, but sometimes it's nice to greet him or her anyway. It's nice.

Thirdly, we have the complete hand raise. This is as it sounds, with the full hand coming up off of the wheel for a nice "hello."

(Let me know if you'd like the name of my manicurist...)

There are many varieties of this greeting, including the whipping of the wrist into a gun formation...

...or a slow, back and forth movement, just to name a couple.

The final wave is the full-fledged, enthusiastic, total-arm, "HEY, HOW YOU DOIN'?" wave.

Little Brother and I like to use this wave to startle oncoming drivers, or at the very least, make them think, "Did I know that person?" and see if they'll respond. More often than not, the other driver will wave back accordingly, even if he or she has no idea who we are.

That, folks, is one of the major differences between the cold North and the warm South.

What does this have to do with spaghetti? Not a durn thing, except that the experience made me think of home, which made me think of this sauce. It's been perfected by my Mamburger, and there's always some in the fridge or freezer. Little Brother is a spaghetti maniac--the size of his typical plateful would make your jaw drop. The boy can put it away. (The sauce is also one of the few things he has deemed worthy of learning how to cook for himself.)

Mammy's Pasketti Sauce (no, I don't actually call it that, but it is more fun to say)

1 lb ground beef, obesity to your liking (I use lean)
12 oz can tomato paste
1 1/2 cans water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

Brown beef, drain. (Mamster likes to leave a little of the fat in the meat. Me, not so much.)
Add paste, water, and seasonings and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add to appropriately awesome pasta, such as this variety (radiatore?) sent to me by Melanie from My Kitchen Cafe:

Simple and delicious.

Moral of the story: If a stranger waves at you, wave back.


Anonymous said...

it happens to me all the time at the supermarket. When someone is queuing next to me I acknowledge them and smile and I get annoyed looks most of the time. To me it's a big city vs town thing.
However, i've found that in London (at least in Richmond) people are quite happy to wave back or nod or smile.
The sauce looks so nice!

LyB said...

Oh boy, you made me laugh out loud with that whole "startling oncoming drivers" thing, I almost snorted coffee out my nose! That sauce looks delicious over the cute little pasta shapes! :)

Elle said...

What was that guy's problem? I dunno...we're not all rude in the north, hehe. The sauce looks delicious and I can see why your brother wanted to learn this recipe!

Elle said...

Oh, and the steering wheel/plate thing cracked me up!

Sharon said...

I grew up in the Midwest and I definitely miss the friendliness of the people!

I also miss some good homemade pasta sauce. Looks delicious!

Deborah said...

I have a neighbor that gives us the "look" when we wave. But luckily not all of them are like that!

Great looking sauce!

Anonymous said...

The waving thing is funny. Where I live you usually get a head nod or the raised hand, but we have a few neighbors from Eastern European countries and they just stare at us like we're insane. They're the nicest people-- it's just a cultural thing, I guess.
The pasta shot is great. It's breakfast, but I'd really like a bowl of pasta with sauce.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing so hard at myself because like a dumba** I was making and trying all the waves with you...which caused ugly and undeserving looks from my family.

My kids call it Mama's Maskettii. Looks awesome.

Geggie said...

I'm a two finger raiser. That's how we do in in Louisiana. Did I know you're from VA. I'm in Norfolk, but moving next month.

Good think the folks in chicago are super friendly!

test it comm said...

What interesting pasta shapes!

giz said...

I'm sure there have been studies done on the whole waving thing. People say Canadians are friendly - until you meet them on a busy expressway. I figure it's a good day when I only get a salute once in a day.

LisaRene said...

Hey, I do believe that is my moms sauce as well :) Seriously!

Very fun post to read! Makes me want to prepare spaghetti, which is a dish I have not made in a loooong time.

toontz said...

You know, you just run into cranky grouches everywhere. And you meet friendly, nice people everywhere, too. Just concentrate on the nice ones.
Here’s my wave and smile coming right back at ya!

Anonymous said...

LOL I like the preamble to the sauce recipe. I'm pretty blind without my contacts and too vain to wear glasses so I usually smile back just in case I know that person but I don't tend to wave in case they're waving to someone behind me. Either way I get pegged for "cold bitch" until my friends explain my blindness lol. The only time that I've really noticed greetings is if I am up really early in the morning. Strangers will often say "Good morning" as if to acknowledge, yes we have to be up this early, we may as well be united and civilised. I notice that it never happens in the afternoons :)

KJ said...

That is some cool pasta. The whole meal looks delicious.

I love the wave demonstrations. We have the one finger wave where I'm from.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Every once in a while someone will smile back or wave...don't be disheartened. In the meantime take comfort in your 'psketti sauce:D

Anonymous said...

cool pasta!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post, on multiple levels! First, the pasta looks amazing. On your tastespotting photo, it looked, to me, like white chocolate! ;)
As for hand gestures, here in Los Angeles, the capital of road rage, we have the two hands off the wheel and raised towards the heavens gesture. I believe this translates into something like "what the (fill in the blank) is your problem"??
Can't we all just get along? Thanks for a good laugh and a great recipe.

SYD said...

I grew up in Germany-so friendly people I did not experience until I moved to LA-where people are always smiling.

Definitely cracked up at your post though.

Cheryl said...

Ok, I already suspected that you were my kind of person, but then when I just learned that you wave at complete strangers, just to mess with them? Yeah, we totally need to hang out some day. LOL

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog through tastespotting... and I can't wait to scour your archives for some more good eats and laughs!

Emily said...

What a jerk! I would have waved back. Waving is fun.

The sauce looks good. Oh gosh, I LOVE pasta like that. All ruffly.

Anonymous said...

Cracking UP at the plate/steering wheel! lol And WTH? That guy was a creep. Completely undeserving of your salutation. *Here's me doing that big blurry wave atcha* That sauce looks darned good, too. :)

Anonymous said...

(Standing up on my computer chair and waving like crazy)...love the multi-purpose plate!