Dear Readers,

The end of summer is rapidly approaching and it seems like everyone is in the midst of a transition.  Some are packing in as many beach days as possible while others are shifting into back to school routines.  Personally, this time of year brings up one consistent memory from my childhood.  Without fail late summer was always that time my Mom would be making her homemade tomato sauce!   

Of all the things my Mom made, she was every proud of her homemade pasta and tomato sauce.  I often joke that these skills are a right to passage in an Italian household.  The town I grew up in housed quite a few local farms.  Like clockwork, my Mom would start visiting these stands in late July and buying tomatoes in bulk.  It was not uncommon to hear the phone ring and it be one of the farms calling to advise they were holding bushels for her.  My Mom was very charismatic and made a lasting impression on many.  Once home, she would wash and clean the tomatoes and then onto to the stove they went to be boiled. 

I can still close my eyes and see all burners occupied with four large pots filled to the top with ripe, red tomatoes. 
Patiently, we waited for the next step… 
When the tomatoes softened, she would remove them from the heat and proceed to strain them to retrieve the tomato juices and discard the seeds and skins.  Some of these preserves would go back on the stove to be thickened with paste, topped off with seasonings, and steadily simmered and transformed into the tomato sauce we craved so much.  The remaining preserves would be transferred to containers and frozen for sauces in the coming months.  In addition to her cooking and kitchen my Mom was very proud of her second freezer in the garage.  A second freezer to an Italian woman is the equivalent to a satellite dish to most people (my Father included).  Long story short, the second freezer came long, long before my Father got the TV he pined for.

Each year from the end of July through August the kitchen was dominated with this assembly line of tomatoes being boiled, strained, and jarred.  In the midst of this flow was always my Mom in her favorite apron with a big smile on her face. 

My Mom spoiled me with these homemade delicacies and I have found myself developing the same traditions.  I take great pride in making my own pasta and developing my own sauce recipe as I see it as a baton that has been passed onto me.  When I dream of teaching the younger generation, there is a great window for stories to be told of the past generations as well as the baton pass to continue.  As I write now, I see my Mom and Grandma in their kitchen in the midst of preparing tomatoes and making their sauce while my Grandfather and others patiently wait for dinner to be called.

Love Always,

Kristina Lucia xoxo