In “Daybook: The Journal of an Artist” (a book about being an artist and a mother which rewards rereading), the artist Anne Truitt describes a meal of spaghetti after the completion of a series of sculptures: “The current series of sculptures is finished. As I took my hand off the last one at 6:45 last evening, I felt like going on and on, making more. But the desire had a febrile echo. I was glad to wash my hair, have a very deep and very hot bath, and sit down in candlelight with my young crew around me digging into plates piled with spaghetti, cottage cheese, salad, French bread, with ice cream and hot bubbly chocolate sauce to top it all off.” I can feel the relief and celebration in Truitt’s spaghetti meal – and often think of her at the end of a project – or when making spaghetti.
Basic Italian Tomato Sauce from the “Streamliner Diner Cookbook” always tops our spaghetti. Four cook-owners of the Streamliner Diner on Bainbridge Island wrote and illustrated the recipe book. I associate the diner with breakfast with the children, egg scrambles, great big muffins, and what the kids called “woofles,” but the tomato sauce is a staple here for meals everyday or festive.
One of our sons asked me why I got the book out, didn’t I know it by heart? And I sort of do, but with the book out I don’t have to think or remember (though I’ve done that often in recreating it when cooking away from home).
If you start the onions to sauté in olive oil, then chop garlic, open a can of whole tomatoes and a little one of tomato paste, you can add all the other ingredients (tablespoon of honey, one of red wine vinegar, oregano, marjoram, and thyme, salt, freshly ground pepper, one bay leaf), to the top of the tomatoes in their can while waiting for the onions to cook. Add the garlic to the onions just a minute before tipping in the big can of tomatoes (with additions). Add the tomato paste – and the Streamliner surprise ingredient: lemon zest. Simmer.
This time of year we have gorgeous Washington asparagus to serve along side, with a loaf of ciabatta from the local organic bakery Pane d’Amor, and a bounteous salad full of the first greens from the garden.
Oh and maybe, for some, just a little ice cream with chocolate sauce.