People love to eat, from the juiciness to the delectability. Food is one of the biggest components of our culture; all the different flavors and types of food, to the different types of drinks. Everyone needs to eat, and each individual person has their own idea for a favorite type of food. Since I was a young child, my favorite family dish has always been a tossup between the stringy spaghetti and the mouth-watering rice and gravy, since these were one of the few sit-down family meals.
Due to the memories associated with my family that goes with these meals, spaghetti and rice and gravy are favorites of mine. Both of these dishes started with my mom’s Mom, as far as I know, but they probably date back to even further generations. Starting with Spaghetti, I remember whenever I would go over to my grandma’s house, whenever she was cooking something for dinner, it would always be Spaghetti. My Grandma’s version always tasted delicious to me; it was even better than my mom’s, although I used to think that no one could cook as well as she could.
The cooking process of the spaghetti doesn’t take too much time, although there are a lot of steps. First you start by gathering the ingredients which include ground beef (if you want meat in the spaghetti), noodles, marinara sauce, and tomato paste. To set up a pleasant cooking environment, begin with digging out two large pans from the back of the cupboard and fill one of them with water, then bring the water to a boil. Next use the other pan to brown the hamburger. Once the hamburger is completely browned you drain out the grease using a strainer. When the water is brought to a boil, stir in the noodles. Set the timer for 15 minutes, which should give enough time for the noodles to become tender. Once you have drained the grease from the hamburger, pour the hamburger back into the pan that you used to brown it, and stir in the sauce and the tomato paste. Be sure to completely cover the hamburger with the sauce. Leave the stove on a very low setting, and let the sauce heat, stirring occasionally. Once the noodles are tender, drain the water with a strainer. As soon as the water is drained, mix the noodles in with the hamburger and sauce. Then stir. Make sure you are able to scoop up and stir in all the sauce from the bottom of the pan as well. Cover and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes; your desired time. Once the sauce is soaked in, it is ready to serve. If the spaghetti turns out looking similar to tiny, shredded, red snakes, you will know that it turned out the way it supposed to.
While cooking this meal, there would be several times that my grandma would let me stir the sauce, but she never let me do anything else; not even any of the preparation work. My mom on the other hand, would let me break up the hamburger when I was little, but then as I grew older she showed me everything about how to cook the meal. During this time, we would talk about anything and everything. Now, I believe the reason my mom wanted me to learn so desperately to cook, is because she was tired of making dinner for my family.
Although several families have formal dinners, spaghetti has never been that formal for us. My mom, my brother, and I always line up at the stove and scoop up the desired amount of food into our dishes. Even when we would have this meal at my grandparents’ house, it was the same deal. After the complications of scooping the noodles onto the plate or bowl and having some fall back into the pan, it appears as a mountain of noodles. Then everyone sits down at the table and begins to eat by swirling the noodles around the fork. Soon a conversation develops, and everyone is swept away with the inspirational moments to follow.
Rice and gravy is another dish that stamps my childhood. We would always eat the rice and gravy with pork chops, and Mom would always say, “Grandma makes the best gravy!” which she really did. For Thanksgiving dinner, we would always have a family get together, and Grandma would always be the one to make the gravy. There would be so many other dishes involved as well, but this is one of my favorites because no matter what happens, it always brings my mouth to water and there have been several great memories to accompany the rice and gravy.
The cooking process for rice and gravy is extremely simple. It only takes about 5 minutes, and it is fairly simple. With the rice, you just measure out how many cups of water to the amount of cups of rice you are cooking, and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, you pour in the rice, turn off the stove, cover, and let sit five minutes before stirring it and using a fork to fluff it up. Then in the process of making gravy, you need to use a skillet. Before starting the gravy, you need to cook some type of meat such as hamburger or pork chops that leaves some grease behind on the pan. Leave the grease in the pan, and mix in some flour and milk. Use a whisk to stir it around, getting all the lumps caused by the flour out. This process usually only takes about 5 minutes, but you have to move quickly, and you need to measure the ingredients with your eyes instead of measuring tools.
As far back as I can remember, my Grandmother had never taught me how to make gravy. The rice I learned how to make on my own by reading the box, but my mom is the person who taught me how to make the gravy. She let me try to make it once on my own after showing me, but she had to take over because I would leave too many lumps in it. For the most part, my mom will just have me grab the ingredients that are needed quickly, but every once in a while, she will let me try again.
To serve these, we always have two separate bowls; one for the gravy and one for the rice. Then each bowl usually has a lid, and we have a spoon for each one. The gravy looks like a huge puddle of tan, and the rice is white with cylinder noodles. Once it is mixed on the plate, it appears that the gravy is covering the rice, kind of like a soup. These are usually served at the table with the pork chops and the same conversations that go along with the spaghetti.
Both of these meals; spaghetti and rice and gravy are favorites of mine because my Grandma would teach me a lot about the basics of cooking them, and it was something passed down to me from my mom, since she taught me the hardcore steps. It is something that fills you up, and you won’t feel like you need to eat again for longer than 2 hours. The salty taste of the rice and gravy never gets old to me and the mixture is so flavorable.