I was in the mood to make some meatballs with spaghetti. I looked through several cookbooks and then wondered how did Mrs. Cleaver, Beaver's mom, make spaghetti? My mother-in-law now in her upper 80's was a wife, mom of two back in the late 40's-early 50's so she would definitely know.
I pulled out her old "Betty Crocker's (BC) Picture Cook Book" (published by McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc. and General Mills Inc.) pictured above. It's in fairly good condition even though the binding is held together with clear packaging tape. Looking closer into this cookbook, I realized it also has a wealth of knowledge with tons of kitchen tips. As I featured Mary Ellen's (from the Waltons) Cookbook about a year ago, I will every now and then feature some recipes from BC's cookbook, I will also include some of her nifty kitchen tips.
Here is the first recipe I will be featuring, "Spaghetti with Meat Balls", exactly what I was looking for. I will do my very best to stay true to the recipes. Click on the image for a closeup view of the recipe if you need to.
In a medium bowl, combine well the meats, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, milk, eggs, salt and pepper.
Shape into 1 1/2" balls
In the hot fat - yes, she does ask for "fat" - add the onions and then enough meatballs where not to crowd them in the pot. Repeat the process until all the meatballs are cooked.
Remove all the meatballs from the pot and set aside.
On medium heat, add the flour to the oil in the pot and whisk, be careful not to burn it.
Add the tomatoes, parsley and green pepper (in this case I only had red and yellow peppers). Stir well.
Add the sugar. . . . (Sugar??...really??? - well, ok), salt & pepper and bay leaves. Combine well.
Return the meatballs to the pot, stir in gently being careful not to break apart the meatballs.
Simmer on low for 1hr. 20 min. stirring gently, occasionally. Start on the spaghetti pasta (according to package directions) about an hour into the simmering.
Serve over a hot bed of cooked spaghetti.
What a thrill that this recipe came out so amazing. As simple as it is, nothing fancy, do you think the "fat" had anything to do with it's savory, grandma style , oh so awesome deliciousness? I do admit that I was very apprehensive when I read that the recipe was asking for fat. I did end up using it but figure that since it's the weekend, I will "splurge" in my fat intake and promise not to pick too many other recipes asking for fat in the near future. Staying true to the original recipe will prove to be very interesting and hopefully not a gain in weight but appreciation to the way they cooked back in Donna Reed's days.
Ever get a recipe from your great Aunt Gertrude with strange measurements asking for a can size of No. 2 or No. 10??? What do those mean??? Well, now you know. Thanks BC!!
Hope you're having a great weekend and remember to savor every moment :)