My mother is a great cook. She taught food sciences at the University of Hawaii before I was born. But she makes terrible spaghetti sauce. I, on the other hand, learned about marinara sauces from the Italians in Tuolumne County. So when the jar of sauce turned up in the kitchen yesterday to thaw for diner, I asked if I could doctor it.
First, a healthy quantity of chopped onion. Consider this is all in proportion to the something under 2 cups of sauce in the jar. Saute that in olive oil (ooops, gotta' bring that to room temp first, doesn't pour straight out of the fridge!) with a finely chopped clove of garlic. What else from this non-Italian kitchen? Mexican oregano, ground, would just have to do. Fresh basil leaves, chopped, courtesy of a neighbor. A touch of sugar to cut acidity. I would have preferred grated carrot and some celery instead of the sugar, but there wasn't room in the pot. My brother would have added anchovies. I'm not a fan of anchovies, need to learn to use those little fishies. Add the now-thawed previously made sauce. Dump the whole mix into the mini-crockpot (capacity 14 oz.) purchased at a recent rummage sale. This house has never, to my knowledge, seen a crockpot before. Plug in and ignore.
I would have liked the whole thing to mull for a couple of days, adding red wine as the liquid evaporated. No time. 4 hours would have to do. It was just enough. Lo and behold, the Chief Chef liked it! She admitted that she never ate any spaghetti (let alone any other Italian foods) as she was growing up, so has no idea what it is supposed to taste like. Somehow she got the idea that she doesn't like Italian food. Surprise!!
Look for those small opportunities. Give thanks when you find them. Don't forget to pray.