Back in the day, the Pittsburgh days, I was living with The Dead End Guy. After numerous, extended explosive break-ups, getting-back-togethers, epic battles and absurd negotiations, we moved into a two bedroom apartment. As I look back on this (a good 19 years later), it was not the smartest thing I have ever done.
We were unhappy almost immediately. At least I was.
I remember having a huge argument the day we moved in and wanting to leave right then.
I wanted something more. I knew that much. I just wasn't mature enough to figure out that he was not the man (hell, he wasn't even a damn man, let's face it, he was a boy...probably still is) that was capable of giving me what I wanted or needed.
For a period of time after I graduated from college and was looking desperately for employment when there was none to be had, I played at being a housewife. I wanted that, I wanted to be the perfect little wife, waiting with a delicious hot meal when he got home from class.
I very diligently made meal plans, shopped for ingredients, chopped, cooked, and cleaned. I was play-acting at being a wife, the thing I so desperately wanted. Even though, deep down, I could never envision us being married, let alone happily married.
I would ask him what he would like (this recipe was a real favorite) and then dutifully make it. Hoping that at some dream-like point, he would notice how wonderful I was and realize that he wanted me.
He never did.
This worked for a little over a year. I played this little game that there was something I could do, some meal I could conjure up, something I could wear that would please him enough.
He found someone else he had more in common with, and he eventually, ironically, married.
It was really really hard to realize that the time I had spent trying so damn hard to make him love me had been completely wasted. I should have had the good sense to let go, to let him go, to let the non-relationship go, years and years before I did.
Then, after a really long time...and I am talking about a really long time, I met this guy. He was handsome and sweet. He seemed to like me just like I am (miracle!) so I married his butt as fast as I possibly could!
He likes what I cook. He likes that I cook. He didn't care that I could hardly cook during both pregnancies. He appreciates that I try new recipes and (as long as I don't add nuts) is willing to try the things I am experimenting with.
All that time, all those years...they weren't wasted. It was just training for the real thing. Now I really know how to be a good wife, for real. But more importantly, I know how to accept the unconditional love that is given. No questions asked, no strings attached, just love. No more pretending, no more begging to be noticed and accepted.
Either way, the pasta sauce is wonderful...whether you are serving it to The Dead End Guy or Mr. Smith, although for Mr. Smith, I skip the mushrooms. It is the least I can do.
Sauce in a Flash
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. lean meat
1 can (28 ozs.) crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, or 3/4 teaspoon dry oregano
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 jar (7 ozs.) roasted red pepper or pimento, drained or diced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, shredded or 1 tablespoon dry basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Brown the meat in a skillet. Drain it if you want to, heck, you can even rinse the fat off of it in a colander. I don't because I don't like getting fat in my colander, but that is just me.
After the meat is cooked, just add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and heat through.
Serve with your favorite pasta shape and enjoy!