Phil’s Spaghetti

It is a story I have heard many times,
the trials and errors of tying to recreate
a friends spaghetti sauce. Mom asked
him many times for the recipe — he did
try and tell her once, but no, that did not
work — until he finally agreed … to let
her watch. You see, he had this nasty habit
of not writing anything down,
an Italian heritage giving him
the instincts for perfect measurement
every time.
The first attempt we do not discuss —
a bitter, inedible mess — the second
we ate, but it was not right.
There were a multitudes of iterations
to follow, varying quantities of bay
leaf and cloves, onions and garlic,
time and patience. Each time
we would hear “its ok, but its not Phil’s.”
We came to know it by smell
and looked forward to spaghetti Sundays,
and she came to take pride in her
own version that she always called
‘Phil’s Spaghetti.”
I have the recipe in the spiral notebook
she gave me when I moved away,
but we usually start with sauce
from a jar and doctor it a bit
to make it good enough, accepting
the trade off between available time
and spectacular results, and knowing
there are some legends you should
not try to emulate.

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6 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

6 responses to “Phil’s Spaghetti

  1. True. So true! Great memories, thanks for sharing.

  2. ha. yes, there is nothing like it made by one that knows how to make it…and trying to do it yourself, you miss the little things that make it really pop…no way i would try to live up to my roommate’s girlfriends…it was incredible…

  3. yeah – it’s often the small things that you cannot put into a recipe that make a dish so special…and better to know the own limits and compromise than trying and trying without ever coming close

  4. oh so true… we all have a ‘Phil’, don’t we… wonderful composition…

  5. What we know? Only after many failures (including the anchovies which almost worked). Spaghetti is my comfort food, but I eat memories.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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