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Sauce or Gravy? Gina * Gina staten-island@usa.net Good debate topic DBLIVIT :)) I think you'll get LOTS of different opinions on this one...it was even discussed in chat not to long ago - don't know if a 100% conclusion ever came to be.

This past Sunday I made sauce - my own tomato/basil/olive oil/garlic/olives & some extra secret ingredients LOL - OHHHHHHH! it's sooooooooooo good.

Next Sunday I'll most likely be making gravy - tomato w/ meat (chuck, meatballs made w/ combo of veal,pork,beef, sausage, spareribs & sometimes lamb or veal) - also zapped w/ basil/garlic/oregano/olive oil & extra special ingredients. A similar but different taste of OHHHHHHH! it's sooooooooo good. :)

When I was a kid I lived in the same house as one of my Grandmothers. I used to spend time in my Grandmother's kitchen pretty much every day while she got lunch and then dinner ready, consequently I learned lots about cooking. Grandma was one of the best cooks I've ever known & always had me help her so I'd learn.

One Holiday weekend both my Grandmother's were showing my Mom & Aunts the add & add nots of cooking. A sauce vs/or gravy question came up and here's how my Grandmothers explained the difference (Fathers Step Mom from Italy & Moms from England)

It was unanimous that "sauce" is without any meat and "gravy" is made with meat or at the least some meat drippings is one of the ingredients.

Sauce examples they gave were:
marinara sauce - no meat, just tomatoes, olive oil & spices...
hollandaise...
alfredo sauce
cheese sauce...
pesto sauce...
clam sauce - Mom & Grandmothers tradition was to ALWAYS make spaghetti w/ clam sauce or spaghetti w/ garlic sauce (Olya Oilya .sp. or Blanco Fra Diavolo Sauce - garlic but no tomato) every Friday w/ other fried/poached/broiled/baked fish)...
any fruit sweetened and slowly simmered down to a syrup type liquid was made into sauce for drizzling over cakes & other goodies...
Custard sauce or Blanc Mange sauce poured over fruits & jellied desserts...
ETC.

Gravy examples given were:
macaroni/spaghetti gravy - is made w/ meat
Roast chicken, beef, lamb, veal, pork gravy made w/ the drippings that were thickened w/ flour, corn starch or potato flakes etc. & water/milk plus added flavor boosters such as Bovril, Gravy Master, salt, pepper n sometimes onion or mint. Gravies are served with a roast and poured over the sliced meat, whipped potatoes n whatever/however you enjoy it on/with.

I see the pasta/spaghetti/macaroni debate has enter this thread too...could say they go hand in hand w/ the sauce/gravy debate. So here goes..........

PASTA - now that's a tricky one. As far as I'm concerned it's over used and the word "pasta" has become the overall blanket word for spaghetti, macaroni (stuffed or plain) and noodles.

I was taught that "pasta" is the name given to the dough - a mixture of salt, flour & water - another variation is flour, eggs & salt, no water or milk. Spaghetti are any of the long thin shapes that can be twirled around a fork - Macaroni are any of the smaller shapes made from pasta dough that are smaller and easily eaten w/ a spoon or stuck w/ a fork. Noodles are made from the same basic "pasta dough" sometimes using milk instead of water but have eggs added giving them a slightly different taste & consistency - they too come in many shapes & widths but are smaller in size. Pasta dough sometimes has potato added such as Gnocchi's (heard them called Italian dumplings too) which have egg, potato & black pepper (sometimes finely chopped parsley) added to the basic pasta dough.

Spaghetti, macaroni, noodles & ravioli were always laid out neatly on clean white sheets with another over them to dry for a couple of hours before cooking. Gnocchi's were shaped and never given drying time, almost immediately they were dropped into boiling water while still soft. Why one had to dry & the other didn't? Your guess is as good as mine :) As I got older I often had my own thoughts about the reason Gnocchi's were cooked right away. Could the reason be because of freshly grated potato's tendency to change colour when left in the open air for a while?

Yep! Some are just called pasta-whatever...As lquill said there's pasta fagioli (lima or cannellini beans), pasta chichi (chick peas). A couple of others hardy Italian soups I learned how to cook from "the extra golden generation" are pasta pazeel .sp. (peas) Broclarab (grows wild on StatNisland - can sometimes be bitter).sp., lentil soup and something called maneste` (a small macaroni such as ditalini or shells, spinach, bacon, potato, bullion, garlic, spices mixture) & a whole bunch of others.


Others who agreed with the above gravy/sauce opinions were my x's Grandmother who was another great cook - she taught me lots. I also had an Uncle who in management over the Chef's n the banquet room at The Waldorf Astoria then The Astor in NY, later he managed The Hamilton Club in Ohio during summer/fall & the Everglades Country Club in Palm Beach banquet/dining rooms during winter/spring - He and my Aunt were on the top-shelf-gourmet level of the finest dining & cooking, when they were asked the gravy/sauce macaroni/spaghetti question they were of the same opinion. They owned a family restaurant that was run by their sons called The Incredible Edible and later The Incredible Gourmet - both were marvelous eateries. I always figured with all those "family cooking experts" being of the same opinion who was I to ever contradict of dispute it. To this day I still remain in agreement with their "cooking thoughts & teachings".

One thing about all of the the above - no matter what ya call em or how ya roll em & slice em, when cooked right they're YUMMY TO THE TUMMY :) :)

Enjoy!










-g



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