Sunday, August 7, 2011

The legend of the spaghetti sauce

My grandmother's maiden name was Zuber; my grandfather's name was Paul Jacobus.  "Jacobus" and "Zuber" are not, you may observe, Italian names.  But we have a fine Italian spaghetti sauce recipe in the family, and it's because of my grandmother, Jewel.

Paul grew up in Irvington, New Jersey, and his best friend - now we get to the Italian names - was Vinny Loria (that's the two of them, aged about 15, Vincent on the left and Paul on the right).  When Paul was courting Jewel, he invited her to join him for Sunday dinner at his friend Vinny's house.  Vinny's mother, Mrs. Loria, was apparently the picture of an Italian matriarch, and Jewel saw dish after dish brought to the table.  Not wanting to offend her hostess, Jewel tried to eat some of each new item presented, but finally she couldn't fit any more in.  And still the dishes were presented...

After a while, she excused herself, went to the bathroom, and removed her girdle, so that she could return to finish the meal.  When Mrs. Loria discovered what Jewel had done, she was so flattered that she gave her the family spaghetti sauce recipe, which my very Germanic-and-Dutch family enjoys to this day.

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