Sauce-à-Spagh à Marcelle (a submission from Mirha-Soleil)

Woah! This is my first submission and it was sent to me by my co-worker Mirha-Soleil. I`ve been having a bad bout of sleeplessness the past couple of weeks, and I`ve been procrastinating with this blog, but reading this story and recipe is really inspiring me to start finally writing down all of the recipes that I`ve cooked up these past two weeks.

Thanks Mirha-Soleil!

21 juillet 2012
Mom woke up felt like cooking up little pot of her sauce-à-spagh… Twenty-six 500ml (24 shown on pic) mason jars later end of day said was exhausted but obviously satisfied. Pré-apocalypse anxiety, I wondered…

Mwé: Koss’kyâ, k’c’ki t’â pognée? t’tsu rêvé d’2012 koudon?
Maan: 2012… m’en-fa’ in-pli saa-plot’ çâ-mwé…
trans — « 2012… like this really makes mine pussy more wrinkled… »

Still, when God’s shit hits the fan, people know where to go for food and warmth. Ice storms, floods, grass hoppers, black outs… whatever the Act, whatever the fléau, people knock on my parents’ door. There’s always water, food, fire dans l’poêle à bois to cook, stay warm pi un puit intarissable of stories to tell. M’maan photo posed gave recipe for colleague Jackson’s food blog. She rarely measures up any ingredient, when needed to be on safe side mostly uses palm of her hand as guiding tool for proportions. Her freestyle cooking is specific to her mixed family background. It means absolute disregard for « purity », no desire to cook up some mythical original version of the food we ate « before » since we have no « before » — no « since times immemorial » nor « Old World » our own. My mom’s aunt Rose-Anna taught her to eat whatever could be caught or found or bought. Whatever is available, you make the best of it, you don’t be fussy, you don’t waste, and you share. That’s the essence of her « traditional » relation to food and food preparation — it is about adaptability and survival, also about feeding more people rather than less people. Big batches, always enough for unexpected guests, always welcoming others. That’s very different sensibility from the obscene cooking orgies that are part of daily francophone TV in Québec, different from a cultural élite speed consuming World cuisine while promoting a return to a sensibility « du terroir ». Different also from the 100% organic, 100% local grown and all those educated consumer trends digging into the past in search of some « untainted » origins, healthier original ways of living. My mom uses almost just organic vegetables (she gets them for free as volunteer point de chute for an organic farm), but she won’t think twice about adding artificial coloring to her organic strawberry jam or cans of V8 and Lipton soup to her sauce-à-spagh. I for one prefer the taste of organic carrots, but I also have cravings for genetically modified corn seasoned with MSG. If there’s some contradictions in the way we eat, other people are the ones having to live with them, not us. 2012 – there’s this Apocalypse we don’t seem to be too worried about… With my mom canning and storing and sharing, maybe our chances of survival are slightly above average. For those a little nervous about prophetic times to come, for those who want an alternative to the Rainbow Warriors, cook up a large batch of my mom’s sauce-à-spagh — preserving food and tradition freestyle is good for the spirit! Here’s her recipe exactly as she told it :

Sauce-à-Spagh à Marcelle
Start in the morning. You need ground beef mi-maigre and ground pork maigre or you can mix ground beef ground veal or beef and moose or beef and horse or any other ground meat you have. Heat some olive oil in a large cauldron… Ad some celery, onions, carottes, red and green bell peppers and make vegetables slightly golden. Ad meat, then tomato juice, V8, 4 can(s) of Primo Rich n Thick Spaghetti Sauce, garlic tomato paste, cans of diced fine herbs tomatoes, an envelope of onion soup, some dried red hot peppers, Italian spices, laurier leaves, salt n pepper. Boil on light fire for entire day. Stir as needed to prevent sauce from sticking to bottom of cauldron. Put into mason jars the way you were taught to do it. Make sure the sauce continues boiling in jars after cover sealed. Make sure each jar cover pops. It all means good sauce! Store in dark place. No light. Eat, share, be grateful to have something to eat. Put leftovers in plate outside for hungry animals who come at night.