“Some people,” my mother used to say, in a tone that told me we were not those people, “cook their meatballs right in the sauce. They boil them.”  And she’d shudder, somewhat dramatically, sub-textually appalled at the ignorance of some people. One of my earliest childhood memories was watching a platter of spaghetti and Mom’s meatballs making a slow arc across the dining room table towards my father, who had evidently made some remark my mother didn’t like. Abut enough of that. Meatballs, needless to say, have been elevated in my memory – if not to the level of mythic archetype – to the stuff family legends are made of.

When I was ten, my mother decided it was time that I was initiated into the secret/sacred lore of the mystical meat ball. I remember the day very clearly. A red-cheeked, chapped lip afternoon in late autumn. The chill of winter was already in the air, and the light was fading fast. I was sprawled on my bed reading a book, when my mother came into my bedroom and announced: “let’s make meatballs.”

From start to finish, making mother’s meat-balls takes about 20 minutes.

As I stood back and admired what we had wrought, I felt proud – somehow this simple act had conducted me a little closer to adulthood. Something that my mother quickly conformed by saying:  “I’m glad you’ve learned how to do this.” For a moment, I thought she’d gone all sentimental. But then she added, “Now you can make your own and leave me alone.”  Goodbye childhood!

That night, we served them in sauce with spaghetti, and nothing was thrown across the table, except a compliment or two – my sister and boyfriend became instant devotees of my culinary gift.

They’ll compliment you too. Here’s how:

Mother’s Meatballs

(Makes about 15 meatballs – Prep time: 12 minutes – Cooking time: 8 minutes)

1½ pounds ground beef (83 percent lean chuck)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 small garlic cloves, crushed
2 heaping tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1. Add ingredients to a bowl. Mix with your hands until nothing sticks to them. Place ¼ cup of the mixture into the palm of one hand, and roll with your other palm until a firm, round ball is shaped. Be sure no parsley is on the surface of the meatball.

2. Spray a small frying pan with Pam Original. Add ¾ cup vegetable oil, and heat on high until a small piece of meatball cooks instantly.

3. Fry the meatballs in batches: Brown well on each side, about 1 minute per side. When the meatballs are nicely browned, give them a final turn, then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

4. Place meatballs in hot oven for 1 to 2 minutes.  “That cooks the center,” mother says. “A little trick I learned on my own.”

Serve piping hot and ENJOY!


About stonekingseminars

Poet, screenwriter, producer, mentor
This entry was posted in Memories, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

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