Weekend in the kitchen

This weekend I spent time in the kitchen! While normally one of my favorite things to do, canning, it seems that the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has attacked both hands, seems to genuinely be slowing me down. I did not realize it was so severe, although I know it makes it difficult to fall asleep and wake up when neither hand can grip. There are mundane and basic tasks related to hygiene that are compromised, let alone filling and loading my quart jars into the pressure canning machine. Even the blanching and grinding of twenty pounds of Roma tomatoes was easier last year than it was this weekend. In  previous years, I could zip through the entire process in a long afternoon. This year it was a two day process. By late in the day, at last, the still bubbling jars, fresh from the pressure cooker, were  all sitting on the counter to cool, and I was sprawled in my recliner sipping a glass of Merlot. A look in the mirror as I passed revealed a look that was every bit as ragged as I felt. Perhaps I needed a  little tonic…at the very least some additional Merlot!

I make my mother’s recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce. It is a recipe I treasure because she welcomed me into the kitchen and let me watch the process. There was almost nothing we loved as children growing up, more than our mother’s spaghetti. I tried for years duplicating it, exactly as I’d watched her, not altering an ingredient or leaving out a step, before I finally realized that it was not so much the ingredients that went into the sauce,as much as the love . Once I mastered that step, I found license to experiment a little with ingredients…fresh tomatoes, blanched then slow roasted in oven instead of canned, and using raw veggies rather than sauteed.When I tasted the final product, I was certain mother would approve! The kitchen certainly smelled like her kitchen while the sauce was simmering.

Thank you for letting me hang out in the kitchen with you, mother. I sure do miss you!

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