Sunday, November 25, 2007

Here’s What’s Cookin’: Meatballs in Grape Sauce

When I was five or so, my mom decided to prepare for my future, not by stocking up on silver or buying bonds, but by collecting recipes. She was ruthless in her pursuit of them, asking her colleagues, my friends’ parents, and the mothers who sat through long, bleak hours at Kelly’s School of Dance watching their daughters “toe, heel, step, clap”. Sometimes, she handed them a special strawberry recipe card and asked them to fill it out. Other times, she let them use their own “From the Kitchen of” cards, just to spice things up a little. Then, once they had done the deed, she filed the card in the proper slot in my recipe box and forgot all about it.

I didn’t forget, though. I would hold the puffy, strawberry speckled box in my hands, squeezing it gently, imagining that it was a treasure chest. I would pull out the cards and play with them, lining them up, reordering them, reading their mysteries. I dreamed of the day when I would be allowed to turn on the oven by myself and make some delicious “Meatballs in Grape Sauce.”

That day never came. By the time I was baking by myself, the strawberry box had been all but forgotten, the ugly brown Moosewood cookbook taking its place. Instead of meatballs, I experimented (usually disastrously) with bulgar wheat and lentils.

Now, I’ve opened up the strawberry treasure box again, unearthing its delights. Fully 3/4 of the recipes make my stomach churn—and not in a good way. Still, it seems sad that they shouldn’t ever see the light of day. In the spirit of remembrance of the culinary past, I’m going to reproduce them here. Imagine the line of strawberries, the careful, slanting script.

Imagine that someone actually ate these things.

Meatballs in Grape Sauce
Meat Balls: 1 lb ground chuck
1 egg, cracker crumbs, 1 tsp worcestushire (sic) sauce
2 shakes garlic sauce; 1 shake Tabasco sauce
Roll in small balls and bake on cookie sheet 20 minutes @ 350. Drain on paper towel.
1 cup grape jelly
1 14 oz catsup
3 shakes garlic salt; 4 shakes Tabasco sauce
Heat in pan until jelly melts. Add meat balls. Simmer in sauce until ready to eat.

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Blogger susan said...

I've eaten these and they are good! You could try them with tempeh or tofu.

3:56 PM  
Blogger betsytacy said...

Erm. Um. But grape jelly sort of just squelches. (Rhymes with Welch's). But maybe I'll get wild one day and bust it out. Add some poppin' fresh rolls, some grated carrots on iceberg and--voila! A perfect meal.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Susan, sweet meat is always better than it sounds. You know Elvis liked to bake his ham in Coke.

10:57 PM  

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