Tag Archives: pilgrim

Go for the BURN

It’s a summer for burn

There’s this Bern….


BernieSS -DNCDAY1-0726-16

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., on Monday, July 25, 2016. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)


         And the ever-present Sun-burn


Not me – a total stranger via Wikipedia

The good on the Grill burn  – more like a char, really



Charcoal Burn – it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s sneaking up there

And then there’s

Joanne’s Spaghetti Sauce.

I learned about this famous sauce from her son, Rick.

Back in the day, Rick was a pilgrim…..

Rick M WSJ Sally Rothemich

Rick McKee as a Pilgrim – as seen in the Wall Street Journal Nov. 29, 2012 – photo credit Sally Rothemich

We had some sort of pot-luck at work…I think it was charcoal burn….if not the first time, then later times. I witnessed this sauce on multiple occasions

Rick had a bag of groceries. He needed a pan for the sauce, and chopped onions and garlic and got them going, and open cans of tomatoes and sauce and threw them in.

He then wanted a frying pan. A HEAVY one. For the paste. To burn it.

Excuse me?????

A heavy pan to burn the paste in.

Yep, that’s what he said. That’s the secret.

Well, it’s no secret if the firetrucks come……make sure that the window is opened, turn on the overhead vent fans, and shut the door to keep the smoke detectors quiet. Fire extinguisher? Check and ready to go.

There’s a beautifully season cast iron skillet in the kitchen. If anything happens to it, all who touch it are doomed. Does he understand?


Rick puts the 10” cast iron skillet on the burner, turns the heat UP, opens the cans of paste and dumps them in. Wooden spoon in hand, he starts stirring, talking the whole while.

The darker you can get the paste, the better the sauce is.

Stir, stir, stirring.

It concentrates the tomato flavor. It releases the tomato flavor. It brings depth to the tomato flavor.

Stirring fairly vigorously.

Paste is already concentrated – frying it on high concentrates it even more.

Stirring, stirring, stirring.

The color changes.

This was in the long ago olden days before Alton Brown could explain about caramelization of the sugars in the paste, and who knows what else that high heat can bring out.

Finally, he says it’s done. He scrapes it into the pot of sauce, uses some water to deglaze the pan and adds that to the sauce, and turns the sauce down to a simmer.

After the deglazing, the skillet cleans up like a water glass.

He adds seasonings to the sauce and the kitchen smells DIVINE.

Like Sunday gravy. A visit to Italian side of the family.

It was good. Every time he made it, it was good.

Rick learned to make the sauce from his mother.

Joanne’s Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

Cover the bottom of large pan with oil. Chop one large onion and 2 cloves of garlic (cut garlic very fine). Add more garlic if so desired.

Cook in the oil over very low heat for a few minutes. (watch the garlic – it burns easily).

Add one large can of tomatoes and 2 cans tomato sauce. Add salt and let simmer.

Meatballs: 1 lb hamburger (or more if you want a lot of meatballs)

2 cloves garlic very fine, salt, pepper, add flavored breadcrumbs to own taste.

Add 3-4 eggs mix well. Roll in flour, fry til browned, let cool.

Fry 2 cans tomato paste.

Use high heat – in fact burn the paste. THIS is the secret.

Add to sauce.

Add water (2 cans or to own taste).

You can use the water to deglaze the meatball frying pan and add remnant paste to sauce.

Add Italian seasoning and sweet basil. Add meatballs. Let simmer 5-6 hours.

It always tastes better the next day.


* italics added by Rick

I got a copy of the recipe in 2009. Her family had it printed up to go with the Mass cards at her wake.

A recipe is one impressive memorial. You get to remember while cooking and again while eating.

And so in August, there will be one night that’s not quite so very hot, and I’ll see if I have tomato paste and bring out the cast iron skillet and go for the burn.

In loving memory of Joanne “Nana” McKee

August 8



Filed under Recipe, Summer

Not a Pizza

I know, you can have an

English Muffin Pizza


Thomas’s English Muffins Pizza-ed

But what if you took a tortilla instead of an English Muffin???

tortillas - flour

Flour tortillas

And What IF you happened to have hummus instead of sauce?

hummus container.png

and then you added just a little cheese….and popped it into a hot oven…It WAS a cold night….and when you took it out you folded it in half to eat it…

Besides Supper  – what would you call it?

It’s Pizza-ish, but not pizza.

The best I could come up with is Quesa-rizza – the place in between the quesadilla and the pizza. Or not.The ‘R’ in the middle is a Massachusetts thing.

My son would combine a burrito inside a little pizza and called it a burr-izza.


And then the 17th century calls….Spring Training  is not just for the Red Sox.

Time to get ready to get back to 1624….


and one of my faves slides…


and then there’s the rest of the PowerPoint, but I don’t know how to link. The Pilgrim ate more meals then just “The First Thanksgiving” is the point of the PowerPoint.





Vinca – also know as creeping myrtle and periwinkle is creeping everywhere. Did I miss the crocuses and snowdrops?

St Patrick

saint patrick

Snakes be gone!

his day is approaching ….all the green around here isn’t just Spring springing.

Time to make the soda bread. Paula Marcoux has a great recipe at this edible South Shore and South Coast link:

One Loaf of Soda Bread – HOLD THE BLARNEY


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Filed under Irish, Pizza, Supper, winter

A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

It’s a coffee kind of day….

It’s National Coffee Ice Cream Day. Really.

and then there was a coffee making discussion on a Facebook group…which caused me to look up Arbuckle coffee and cowboy coffee before my second cup here….chuck-wagon-coffee

Then I learned that in Quebecois the cardboard sleeve that slips over the paper togo cups of coffee are called

 un manchon.

cafe-manchon-sleeveBut I digress……

When I was little coffee at home was made with a peculator


Oh, that distinctive sound…

Now the ancestral home is perfumed daily with Mr. Coffee

It beeps when it's done brewing and it beeps when it's done heating for the morning. But it makes coffee.

It beeps when it’s done brewing and it beeps when it’s done heating for the morning and all that beeping is a wee bit annoying. But it makes coffee.

I use a French press pot

I use a French press pot. No beeps.No music.

And now I’m at the coffee shop…kiskadee exteriorIt’s also the day, in 1620, that the Pilgrims departed England and eventually ended up here in Plymouth, on the street where I am RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

I’ve also been up to my eyeballs in Pilgrim food info, so my mind hasn’t been on food of this century…..

  • 17th century gingerbread recipes almost all call for bread – in the form of bread crumbs; but several do not call for ginger. Should you add it anyhow? Karen Hess has a theory (why don’t I ALWAYS read her first?)
  • So, so very very often the suggestions to keep meat from spoiling have to do with venison, and not other meats in 17th century sources…hmmmm – venison is different then other meats somehow….like it’s something you would hang on to, and not just gobble up because you were hungry. Perception, perception….
  • Repasts from the Past, where I’ll talk about bread and sops and Indian Pudding, at the Partnership of Historic Bostons on Friday September 18th at First Church Boston has tickets available
  • HardCore Hearth Cooking Workshop is ready to roll on Saturday September 19th at Plimoth Plantation- still time to join in the boiling/frying/roasting/baked goods fun with me
  • And…..it’s just the beginning of the Pilgrim and Thanksgiving food madness season. How did the Pilgrims ever do it without coffee?
Cream, please. No sugar, thank you

Cream, please. No sugar, thank you, I’m sweet enough the way God made me.

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Throwback Thursday

me 1981 Joe Carlin

This was when I was a new Pilgrim…..shades of 1981. This was the second oven that we had built at Plimoth Plantation.




15th century mobile oven...great looking pies there, too.

15th century mobile oven…great looking pies there, too.

Millet TIme - Woman Baking Bread, 1854 - not much changes....

Millet TIme – Woman Baking Bread, 1854 – not much changes….

A newer oven at Plimoth - a clome or cloam oven

A newer old type oven at Plimoth – a clome or cloam oven in  2012


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Filed under Bread, The 17th century, The 1980's

Throwback Thursdays

I’ve been studying Thanksgiving professionally since 1980.

Semi-professionally since the Kennedy administration. My first area of expertise was the relish tray, specifically black olives,

Your Basic Black - olive, that is.

Your Basic Black – olive, that is.

the canned pitted ones that fit over your fingertips so you can wiggle them at your brothers.

This is not me, and yet it was me....olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty

This is not me, and yet it was me….olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty


My brothers were never the least bit squeamish, but they’ve always kept a respectable distance from black olives.

That first year of professional study was a fluke – a 10 week position as a Pilgrim at Plimoth Plantation.

I wasn’t going to make a CAREER out of it, and end up in Food Network Magazine’s Odd Job  or anything

How about a throwback to Thanksgiving? I hereby that Throwback Thurdays will be Thanksgiving themed here at Foodways Pilgrim

Here I am on How2heroes about the history of ‘the first thanksgiving’

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Filed under Perception ways, Thanksgiving