Friday, March 29, 2013

I'm a child of the tomato sauce day

My husband finally got the tomato sauce.

The sauce making day he's been wanting for the last, ohhh I don't know, eighteen years?  Every year I ask what he wants for his birthday.  Every year he asks "Can we make the sauce?"  That's all he wants, no presents please, just 'can we make the sauce'.

And I put it off.  We don't do it.  Every year. 

I have childhood memories of making sauce, it was work, hard work. We would make thirty boxes or so. I will always remember our long hallway lined with cases and cases of tomatoes. The waking early, the washing, the cutting, the stinging hands, the old beer bottles needing washed. It was quite the production, there was nothing half hearted about it.

Sauce making day holds memories in smells for me. You know those.... memories you can smell.
It's cut tomatoes, the smell of them passing through the mincer, metalic acidy yet good. The smell of smoke, when all was ready to go a fire was lit. As a kid this was the best bit, it would be dark and we'd sit around tired yet not wanting to go inside.

The next day we'd wake to unload the barrel.  Again the smells, a little more unpleasant this time. Old clothes wet with water and rust in an oil barrel between the beer bottles, the smell of a broken bottle, tomato and rust again.

Back to the now, as we processed our one box of tomatoes, all these memories came back to me. I'd always dreaded doing this at home for my family, always avoided it.  But after yesterday, after our small scale production, the whole deal, the taking turns cranking the mincer, the kids helping with the bottling, seeing my husband buzzing and happy. I remembered that it was also a special time.

We were all together, all making something together all helping out, how often does that happen these days.

I think a little tradition has been reignited in my heart, sharing a piece of my past and giving my husband his wish and seeing my kids enjoy it all, I think it was worth it.

I'm ready to get another case before they are gone and make some semi-dried tomatoes like foxes lane did.


  1. You think you had it bad - we had to PICK the tomatoes the week before. By the time the bottling came we were well and truly OVER IT. Love from your fellow ALDI shopper ;) xxx

  2. A lovely, evocative post. Hope you got your second case.

  3. We do about 60 liters every year for our family but three years ago we took on two other families need and did more than one hundred and fifty over a weekend. It was too much in many ways but also lovely to send them off, the hard work done to be enjoyed over the course of the year.