Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spaghetti Sauce Is the Same Thing as Love

There's a saying in my house.  Okay.  So it's a saying I say, though I'm not sure anyone else does.  "Caramel cake is love."  That's because, every single year of my life, my grandmother--we called her Bopum--made me a caramel cake for my birthday.  When she missed my birthday in 2008 because I lived in Georgia, she made me one for Easter.  In fact, that was the one time she let me help, and it's one of the last things we did together before she died suddenly a few weeks later.  (That's her with my daughter in the picture.  She'd just flown in for what would be her final visit with us, though we didn't know it at the time. Can you tell they loved each other?)

Well, my grandmother-of-German-ancestry had one other favorite dish.  Spaghetti.  Yep.  She could rock a spaghetti sauce like no one else. I used to sneak into the kitchen while that pot was on an all-day simmer, eat a bowl full, then clean up like she had no idea what I was doing.  (She did. She always knew what I was doing.)

When I sat down to write my novel Quilted by Christmas, my Bopum showed up on the pages in the form of Jemma.  Yep.  Caramel cake, spaghetti, and all.  And today, I'm sharing her spaghetti recipe with you.  Simple as it is, I have never been able to get it to taste the same as she did. Wonder why?

Bopum's Not-so-secret Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 to 1 pound ground beef
1 package Lawry's spaghetti seasoning (there's the secret. It must be that brand!)
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 16-oz can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large can sliced mushrooms
small onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
3 tomato paste cans of water, pluse 2 sauce cans of water
dash of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and oregano to taste

Brown beef and drain.  Saute' green pepper and onion 'til tender.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for no less than two hours.  Longer is better.

And there you have it.  Now that I'm sitting here, I think I may need to make a pot.  Along with some caramel cake.

How about you?  Are there any favorite family recipes you're willing to share?

Jodie Bailey is the author of several Love Inspired novels, including a novella in Holiday Defenders, releasing in October. Her contemporary romance, Quilted by Christmas, also releases in October. She currently lives in North Carolina, in her grandmother's house, and her desk sits in the exact same place as her grandmother's sewing table. She has not yet mastered caramel cake... or spaghetti sauce.


  1. That saying is definitely true in my family! My grandma's spaghetti is the ultimate comfort food and she makes it for us often :) Her secret ingredient is a packet of Lawry's "Extra Rich and Thick" spaghetti seasonings.

    1. SEE? It's all about the Lawry's! I love that we're not the only ones...

  2. The recipe I remember most from my grandma was her coconut cake. Rich yellow cake with fluffy white frosting that was so light and airy and tasty....Nope, I've never mastered it and I'm actually a good baker.

    1. I think it's because there's just something about grandmas. I can't even boil squash like she did, and I'm a decent cook. That said, the cake sounds yummy. I love coconut cake... especially when it's been in the fridge for a bit... Mmmm...

  3. Since fall has arrived, it brings to mind that I started making divinity and fudge for my daughter's school carnival, and have every year since and I have grandchildren in school now. No one else can make it from my recipes because the secret is in the technique which varies sometimes during the cooking. Technique is learned over years of practice, like my mother's biscuits, which I can't make.

    1. I can't remember the last time I had divinity. It was a staple at the women's group from my grandmother's church. I think you're right. Technique can't be taught. {{sigh}}

  4. My grandmother made beautiful meringue pies. They were delicious! I certainly have not mastered that talent.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    1. I'm scared of making meringue. I know it's easy and shouldn't be, but I am. It's so... delicate. And I'm so... heavy handed. :-)

  5. I love this post, Jodie, and can smell the spaghetti sauce simmering! :) Thank you for sharing the recipe. When my husband and I were dating, he cooked dinner one night and made homemade spaghetti sauce. It was delicious and I have had a great fondness for spaghetti ever since! Love and memories certainly make a dish special!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  6. That's the truth! I think I need to make spaghetti soon. Now I'm thinking about it. How sweet that he made you homemade spaghetti sauce. See? It's love!