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Sunday, October 15, 2017


 a cranky culinary re-run from October 2013
Mrs. C is half Italian and half Irish.  I often tease her that the Italian half never steps into the kitchen.  It is not that she cannot cook; she does not love to cook.  For the last six months I have been goading her about her lack of culinary passion and have pestered her into making lasagna.

I love lasagna.

For the past six months she has been brushing this request off.  Now her Italian half is from her mother, so I know she must have received some training in the kitchen.  What Italian daughter does not know how to make lasagna?

Last week we went grocery shopping.  We bought several tons of ground beef, not a typical purchase but I thought nothing of it.  We bought several tons of ground veal and ground sausage.  Not a typical purchase, but I thought nothing of it.  We bought five cans of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato paste and some ricotta cheese.  I thought nothing of it.  We bought four packages of lasagna pasta…DING!  The bell in my head went off…LASAGNA!!

“Yes, I’m making lasagna, and you don't deserve it.”


“I’m making it Saturday for dinner on Sunday.  Jerk! You couldn’t have asked for baked ziti?  Do you have any idea how much time it takes to make lasagna?”

I do now. 

Saturday there was crushing, mixing, seasoning, boiling, baking, and browning for four hours.  The kitchen was littered with pots, pans, Pyrex dishes, and cooking implements that I didn’t know existed.  The house was filled with odors that mixed together and created a stomach rumbling mouth salivating perfume reminiscent of Thanksgiving, but with a definite flavor of Italy. 

A pot of sauce simmered on the stove for hours and in it were sausage links and meatballs absorbing the flavor of the sauce.

“Mmmm, the sauce smells delicious.”



“It’s not sauce, its gravy.  You want sauce, you get a WASP to make dinner, you want my Italian half in the kitchen…IT’S GRAVY!”

Dinner on Sunday was Heaven.  Two large squares of lasagna with some cheesy bread to sop up the gravy, and sausage and meatballs on the side.

I had no idea what a big job it is to make proper lasagna.  At least we have enough left over to last a week.  I am told that like wine it improves with age.

I wonder if I should ask for soda bread this St. Paddy’s day. 

I love soda bread.

*Tomato Gravy is much more in depth (than tomato sauce), and is also referred to as "Sunday Gravy" as it was generally the normal Sunday dinner for most Italian families. The gravy is made by beginning with a sauté of oil and meat (usually braciole, pork chops or sausages, meatballs, roasts or a combination), followed by your vegetable, tomato mixture, and seasoning. It is referred to as Gravy because of the juices from the meats that are used as your base. A proper gravy will take a minimum of 4-6 hours to properly cook, simmer, and marinate.


  1. It sounded delicious! Glad you have leftovers too! I rarely make lasagna and it will be nothing like Mrs. Cranky's. I take a lot of conveniences along the way. Spaghetti gets me every time. Such a "simple" thing to make but literally takes every pot you have to get it cooked.



  2. I have visited Italy many times but I can honestly say I have never tasted lasagna. However, your description of it is making my mouth water.

  3. This is why I no longer make lasagna. I love it, but not the preparation and cooking part.

  4. Lasagna is one of my top three meals. My wife isn’t Italian but she makes a pretty good lasagna.

  5. Yes, it's a tomato gravy and it is not easy the way she makes it. Here, i make a much simpler version of a tomato gravy to serve over rice, and it's one of Sweetie's favorite meals. If he asked for a lasagna, i'd send him to a local restaurant where they do it right, i don't have that much time to spend in the kitchen because of work.

  6. I'm not Italian, but I love to eat and make lasagna. I cook the gravy a day ahead in the crockpot all day, so that's my secret. Plus, the noodles can NOT be the kind you boil first. Makes all the difference.

  7. We love lasagna and it does take forever and mess up the kitchen, but soo worth it! You might want to start now if you think you want soda bread for St. Patty's Day!

  8. Ahh, so you were the spectator? The story I REALLY wanna hear is you going about making it for yourself .... now that'd be awesome!! Almost as awesome as lasagna ....

    I love to cook but am, um, constrained most of the time. Queenie's mother was, uh, too lazy to teach her children to cook so Queenie is self-taught (kinda like me) but like her Father, Queenie thinks it's the wife who should be cooking so I have to either do a mediocre job of cooking or face her wrath at having shown her up. And no, teaching her is not an option. Been there, tried that .... um, and that's all I'll say.

    You'll understand if I'm scarce for a few days?

  9. I had no idea that it was that involved to make a proper lasagna, it had to be fabulous and leftovers are always a lot better than the original meal so with that said, you have it made for the next week.

  10. I'm SO glad I don't cook any more!!

  11. Lasagna isn't one of my favorite things but your lasagna sounds delicious.

  12. See, you really are special. Jerk is definitely a term of endearment for Mrs C. No one would go to all that trouble for a real jerk.

  13. I think soda bread is a lot easier than lasagna. I never knew that about "gravy" even though my mother-in-law was born in Sicily. Mike (half Italian) would not eat anything with tomato sauce on it ever so lasagna was always a restaurant type of meal for me. And as Patti said, you must be special because who would go through all that work for someone not deeply cared for.

  14. I make a pretty good lasagna but I can see I'm just a "wanna be" lasagna maker. Your wife's recipe sounds so amazing...mine starts out with a jar of Prego. Hey, don't judge, I'm half Greek and half German so that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it!

  15. Have you had it since 2013?

    I'm not a fan. My sister likes lasagna, and my mom made it every now and then, but not the proper way, I'm sure. I don't think I ever ate it at home, and I might have tried it a couple times elsewhere. Probably wasn't that great, since my memory is foggy.

  16. We had lasagna last week. One of my faves, and yeah, it's gravy. :)

  17. I've never cooked lasagna from scratch I have got it frozen from the grocery store but not my favorite meal. Mrs. C's do sound delicious.

  18. Thank you for portraying this huge lasagna making mission so hilariously.
    You are so amazing in making other's days with your extraordinary gift "humour "

    I am glad you finally were able to have your most wanted dish.

  19. Lasagna is a bit of work, but it makes a lot and the leftovers freeze well (if they don't get all eaten the second and third day). I make it a few times a year, and it's a must on Christmas Eve. We're supposed to have some cooler weather next weekend - now you have me wanting to make lasagna then!