Today would have been my mother-in-law's 82nd birthday. We lost her to lung cancer in 2007. It hardly seems possible that it's been five years ago. We all keep her memory alive by regularly reminiscing about what a wonderful mom and person she was.
In her honor, we had a Sunday dinner similar to one she would serve, scaled back a bit. For special occasions, she would prepare a roast beef or pork, baked chicken, shrimp scampi, baked mostaccioli with red gravy and meatballs and sausages, a garden salad, broccoli, good bread from Taylor street, and three dessert choices. There was enough food for three times the number of diners and everyone took a plate or two of food home afterward. It was all good!
One weekend a few months before she died, my youngest daughter and I went to visit her. Mostaccioli is our daughter's favorite and Mom always made a pan just for her. So a goal for that visit was for my daughter to learn how to make the red gravy. She said to Grandma, "I'll be your hands and you can tell me how make it." So she did and it turned out so well even Grandpa, who is generally stingy with compliments, praised her efforts.
I looked at the red gravy 'recipe' and commented to my daughter that it was merely a list of ingredients with no measures or instructions. She said that she had the steps memorized and that it is made by taste adding 'just enough' of the herbs and seasonings. So today, my daughter made a batch of the red gravy and a pan of mostaccioli. It tasted like Mom's.
The rest of the menu was a garden salad, steamed broccoli, braised beef, and nice bread (from Sam's Club).
The majority of our usual Sunday group came for dinner. Our friends brought bruschetta and tomato topping, cheese and crackers and a very special bottle of Italian wine. My niece baked an authentic pound cake and served it with fresh fruit and real 'whupped' cream. We raised our glasses in a toast to Mom. May God rest her soul.