My husband says that I have a tomato problem.
He uses words like “addiction”, “compulsion”, “obsession”.
I respond with words like “whatever”, “nu-uh”, “ugh” (yes, they are words in my vocabulary)
My kids say things like “Stop saucing, Mommy!” “Can’t we just go to the pool, like other kids?” “Why are you making mooorrrreee???”
My responses… “I just have a few more to do.” “You love Mommy’s sauce.” “Can I just have one hobby?”
Why can’t my loved ones embrace my annual hobby of stalking my favorite secret farm stand until the Romas are ready, then packing my car full of red, juicy little friends, and crafting some of the finest homemade sauce (or “gravy” as my Italian friend, Lisa, corrects)? No one else we know has a basement stockpile of tomatoey awesomeness!! My family is lucky, damn it!
I’m a pretty simple girl. I do not like shopping. The mall is not my happy place, and the outlets, which are right down the road from my farm stand oasis, make my heart palpitate with anxiety! I prefer to cook, and grow, and relax. In an ideal world, I’d live on a small farm, next to the beach, and I’d have enough money to stay home with my kids and cook fabulous meals. It’s not a lot to ask.
But now, the season of saucing is upon us. The Romas are ready; this is shopping that brings me joy! I woke up this morning, recruited my sister, Rori, who is crazy enough to join my adventures, and off we went. The sun was out, the breeze was warm, the top was down, and the doors were off. It was heavenly.
Our morning was awesome. Kid & husband free, we popped into several farm stands snatching up peppers, pickling cucumbers, cheese, blackberries, and the coveted Roma tomatoes. I have a super secret special spot that grows them to perfection. Here we bought SIX BUSHELS. As I transferred them from the baskets to cardboard boxes, a calm washed over me. This is my happy place, this is my happy place, THIS IS MY HAPPY PLACE!! After we loaded them into the car, I stood to ponder our stash. No buyer’s remorse. I had buyer’s delight!
After a happy drive home, I pulled into the driveway and fought the urge to yell, in the spirit of Maurice Sendak, “LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN!”
It is time to sauce.
So, as I pull the first tomatoes from the box, and my family watches and waits for my crazy to show, I do consider the stages of addiction…
- Admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion:
- I totally admit that I cannot control my compulsion to make & can homemade pasta sauce
- Recognizing a higher power that can give strength;
- I totally thank God often that I live in such a beautiful place on Earth, with fertile soil, and Amish neighbors who grow the BEST ROMA TOMATOES EVER!!!!
- Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor;
- I will totally own my errors. Two years ago I didn’t make enough and we ran out in January. Last year, I made a little too much, and I still have 8 jars left.
- Making amends for these errors;
- I bought less this year.
- Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
- I will live with less canned sauce, and embrace my passion for making sun pickles too
- Helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions;
- I assisted my sister in securing a few cases for herself, and I am willing to help you all as well.
There you have it. I may be a little obsessed, addicted, or compulsive, but Hell, it’s a lot of fun, and so, so good!
If you need to know how I make my sauce/gravy, check out my Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce!