August 12, 2015

Babos Receptai (Part 13)

My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, prepared simple, daily meals. The food usually was somewhat bland because Lithuanians avoid assertively seasoned dishes. We rarely, for example, had garlic in the house, and my family shunned green bell peppers because the adults found them "spicy." Mr. Irene and I sometimes joke that Lithuanians season their food with bacon and dill.

Sicilian immigrants populated the suburb in which we lived, and I grew to love Italian food. My Best Friend's father, Dolfo, was from Genoa, and he taught me to appreciate northern Italian preparations like pesto and Genoese pizza (foccacia). I often ate dinner at my Best Friend's house and then went home to pick at the dull plate Tatjana had prepared.

Tatjana sought to please my adventurous palate by preparing Spaghetti and Meatballs. I don't think she made the dish more than once each year.

Here is the recipe Tatjana used; she likely adapted it from the 1956 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook:

Here is how I translated the recipe:

Meatballs (Italian)

To make the meatballs:

one pound mixed ground meats
a little bit of garlic
3 eggs
fine, dry breadcrumbs
Italian cheese

Fry the meatballs in a pan. When the meatballs brown, pour them into the sauce.

For the Sauce:

1 large can tomato puree
1 large can tomato paste
some bay leaves or a leaf of basil
1/2 clove garlic
a pinch of allspice
1-1/2 cans water

Cook until the sauce thickens.

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There! You can see how bold this recipe was for our household: Tatjana used garlic and even suggested adding a basil leaf.


Meade said...

I love her handwriting.

Irene said...

I think it's the Cyrillic influence.