Recipe – Italian

Italian Recipe

Recipe and Performer’s Analysis: The Italian recipes in my family are rather rare too.  Recipes were never written down common among Italians. Recipes were always passed down by way of spoken word. Whenever I asked an Aunt or Uncle how to make something, I was always told it was just a pinch of this and a pinch of that.  They decided how much of an ingredient was necessary by tasting.   Watching relatives make something was the only thing you could go on.  But since as a child I spent many hours “trying to help” I actually did learn something and I could duplicate some of the recipes from Sunday dinner.  The main event of dinner was the spaghetti sauce and I could always tell a good sauce from a bad one.  The sauce had to start with fresh garlic, (sliced very thin) and sautéed in olive oil.  Plum tomatoes were added and squeezed to get out the juices and then chopped up.  They we added fresh oregano, fennel seed, basil, a bay leaf or two, and salt and pepper to taste.  It was slow cooked for hours to eliminate the acid from the tomatoes and they always added the meatballs, sausage, and braccioli to the sauce and let it all cook together to get the flavor.

Collector’s Analysis: This Italian recipe is interesting because it is unwritten, and spoken in contrast with the Jewish collections I collected that are very specific and orderly. This unwritten recipe is very typical of folklore, because it depends on the performers interpretation. When folklore is passed down through speech, it creates variation and multiplicity.

Annotation: “Raised Italian-American: Stories, Values and Traditions from the Italian Neighborhood” by Joseph J. Bonocore