Back inside, I was torn on what to make for dinner. But the pull for making homemade spaghetti sauce was the clear winner. On cold, cold nights, nothing could be more comforting then a bowl of pasta with meatballs and freshly made sauce. Usually I like to cook my grandmother's gravy recipe all day, but today a shorter version will suffice. I think the deep flavor of the last of our Italian sausage should make up for the abbreviated cooking time. We don't have pork going to the butcher until March, so we may as well make the best of the last package.
I purchased some local beef while running errands today. That local beef mixed with our pork served as the meat ball base. As I added in dried summer herbs and the rest of the ingredients, I could hear my grandmother's instructions hum in my head. She'd rather I had veal or lamb too to add, but we're out so this will have to do. I can hear her say "over season the meatballs so they finish your sauce for you when you add them" and add a bit more salt. The tomatoes for the sauce are from the summer garden, those that could be salvaged before we got hit by the blight. We've yet to order seeds for this year's garden, but soon. We'll sit with a bottle of wine between us and thumb though the black and white FEDCO pages reading aloud the descriptions of summer, choosing both the standbys and chance seeds for a year of growth and eating.
I peel the stiff paper coating from our garlic, still dusty with the garden's remains. I can feel the dimming October (of 2013) light as I planted this seed, harvested in late-summer of this year in compact bulbs and now cured for the winter's cooking. I'm saddened we didn't manage to get in the garlic in November for this summer's harvest, and make note to look for a short-season variety in FEDCO as well. In the smell of our dried basil as I crush it between my fingers, I can almost feel the summer heat and remember frantically pulling the last of it before the frost.
Warmth. We all crave it. We crave the warmth that protects us from the physical blow of the wind, but we crave the warmth that comes from fond memories too. When you can guard against the weather and retreat into a bowl that transports you to a garden, or to a treasured time, or to both- the warmth is a different kind of cloak.