Friday, September 26, 2008

My Mom Makes One Mean Lasagna

During my recent visit Back East to, among other things, attend my brother‘s wedding, I also stumbled upon a serendipitous epiphany of gourmet delectability.


Big words (just showing off) that merely mean: My Mom Makes One Mean Lasagna!

One Mean Vegetable Lasagna, that is.

I grew up in a half-Italian household, by that I mean an Italian household. If you know Italians, then you understand that they have a tendency to dominate a room…or a home. Gastronomically speaking, this is a good thing! The funny thing is, my mom is not the Italian in the family, she’s French. But by marrying an Italian man, she was bound by Sicilian and old Francis Ford Coppola Films tradition to learn, from a genuine Nana, how to make a
tomato sauce from scratch. And also how to please the garlic- and olive oil-loving palate of a gentleman with a vowel at the end of this last name. The good news: she more than passed the test; she excelled.

Have I mentioned: My Mom Makes One Mean Lasagna!

So, when I informed my mother that I would be taking that big (not that big, actually) jumbo jet in the sky back to her neck of the woods to be among family and friends to celebrate her youngest child’s nuptials, she naturally asked if she could cook something special for me. And I naturally requested her World Famous Lasagna…but with one catch.

Mike: Can you make me a vegetable lasagna?
Mom: Oh…I’ve never made one of those.
Mike: I know, that’s why I’m asking you. No meatballs.
Mom: Oh…you used to love my meatballs.
Mike: Yes, Ma, I did, but I’m a vegetarian now. Remember?
Mom: Oh…right. You can’t eat meatballs?
Mike: No meat, Ma. None. So, can you make a meatless lasagna?
Mom: Oh…I suppose. What kind of vegetables do you want?
Mike: Anything, surprise me.
Mom: Oh…
Mike: And no pork fat, please, in the sauce.
Mom: Oh…dear…what?
Mike: Mom?
Mom: Oh…but I always use pork fat.
Mike: Yes, I know. Can you use something else?
Mom: Oh…I suppose…
Mike: Mom?
Mom: Oh…
Mike: Mom?
Mom: Oh…

On and on it went until we agreed that olive oil would be a healthy and tasty alternative to the pork fat my mother usually adds to the saucepan in which to sauté the onions and garlic and whatever else she uses to start her World Famous Tomato Sauce.

During the weeks and days leading up to my trip Back East, my mother would call often, grilling me on my vegetable preferences.

Mike: Hello?
Mom: Michael, do you like mushrooms?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: For the lasagna.
Mike: Oh. Yeah, sure, love ‘em.
Mom: How about your brother?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: Do you think he’s allergic to them?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: Or his fiancée?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: How about eggplant?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: Cauliflower?
Mike: …

After numerous calls and some serious consideration of adding my mother’s phone number to my “no-call” list, we settled on what will from this point on be known as “The Masterpiece.”

I landed in my old state on a Monday and sat down to a small gathering of family and friends at mom’s house on a Tuesday. My salivary glands the only part of my body not suffering from jet lag, I watched with utter amazement as my tiny mother removed from the oven a tray of vegetable lasagna, slightly larger than some of the carry-on luggage I saw my fellow air passengers unsuccessfully trying to cram into the overhead bin.

Heaped upon a plate before me was a wedge of lasagna, roughly the size of my head while wearing a large hat. I dug in. It melted in my mouth. The veggies were cooked just right; not too crunchy or too limp. And the tomato sauce was the best ever: savory and vibrant. Without the overpowering (sorry meat-eaters) presence of the meatballs and pork fat, I could taste more of the tomato and garlic, which also brought out the succulent olio of flavor from the broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, and eggplant.

It was delicious!

It was “The Masterpiece.”

When I stated that my mom made one mean lasagna, I wasn’t kidding. Now I can emphatically add that:

My Mom Makes One Mean Vegetable Lasagna!

The moral of this story: For a healthier, tastier life, go veggie and hold the meatballs.

Until next time…




Mike Golch said...

sounds good. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

oh man, now i have a taste for a veggie lasagna. that's a good meal for me as i'm not too fond of meat. i think i will make me one in a few days. thanks!

Eric S. said...

Sounds real good. I have never had a Vegie Lasagna, I may have to try and find some.

Faisal Admar said...

oh my. i am not sure i could survive by eating only veggie and vanishing meatball from my life dictionary!

Lux said...

Elaine here: I must say that sounds really good!


You are making me very hungry (loved your video by the way). I think I will have make some veggie lasagna although I am sure it won't stack up to your moms!

Anonymous said...

I should ask your mom about the recipe, my employer wants veggies on her meal now.

Unknown said...

mike: cheers back to ya!

natural: I forgot, you can also use spinich

eric: they are tasty

faisal: you sound like my wife--she loves meatballs!

lux: yes, but did you enjoy the dialogue between my mother and me?

heidi: I bet you make a mean lasagna yourself

melai: veggies keep ya going...



Anonymous said...

It is tough to ask family members to do things differently, but in the end it is good for them too! With all the cheese in lasagna that is more than enough protein!

LaTease "Teasas Tips" said...

nothing like mom's home cooking, eh, Mike?

Anna said...

Veggie lasagna and another of my faves...eggplant parmesan! YUM! Sounds like you had a fantastic gastronomical feast while visiting mom!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you mom for such a great dish!
Almost everyone in my family are vegetarian, my dad is pure vegetarian and he look many years younger than his age. My grandma who is 82 can still do stuff on her own, travel, and do the things she used to do 20 years back. I guess that's the wonder of having a healthy lifestyle.

ImitationAngel said...

That sounds really good. Do you think your mom could make another pan and ship it to Michigan? Veggie lasagna sounds good. I'm going to try it.

Raquel said...

Where is the veggie lasagna, I wanna taste it. I haven't tasted it yet though.

Btw, thank you for the lovely message in my blog and I also checked out your videos. It helps a lot especially the food journalizing. And oh, about the "I Miss My Hair". Don't worry, you look sexy without it. Be proud because bald is SEXY. [wink]

Unknown said...

Hilarious post. I'm semi-vegetarian, but every once in a while I turn into a salivating carnivore. I would give it all up and become completely vegetarian if I could pay your mom to cook veggie meals for me (just kidding). Glad you enjoyed "The Masterpiece".

Unknown said...

dr. nicole: my mom is the greatest, thanks, doc!

latease: see above

anna: You are correct, and I also LOVE eggplant of my favs!

alex: that is wonderful, and I aspire to emulate those great healthy successes

imitationangel: the amazing thing is, she just might if you asked her really nice

raquel: thanks for the kind words, and I will add you to the hey-ma-send-us-some-lasagna list

fabulousabstinence: my wife still loves meatballs, and my mom's lasagna, while incredible with just veggies, was pretty good with meatballs, too...just not as healthy

Thanks for all the fantastic comments, I can't wait to share them with my mom...



Paul Eilers said...

Thinking about putting your own mother on the "Do No Call" list - now that's funny!

I wonder if I could away with that...

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I'm from an ALL familia italiana, so I can relate. Great post.

Anonymous said...

he he he, I didn't know one can learn a moral lesson from eating a lasagna.

I'm sure that was one delicious veggie lasagna.

But is it similar to a veggie pizza? he he he..just kidding.

Happy blogging.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I am nominating your blog for an award. Stop by my blog and pick up your award :)

Unknown said...

paul: who knows? give it a try...on second thought...

bartolomo: Italian families and Italian food are great, huh?

jena: I could go for a nice slice of veggie pizza, thanks for the idea, Jena...and cheer

pam: would love to check it out, but cannot find your blog...??



Faisal Admar said...

haha. yes i love meatballs. but i won't say no to veggie lasagna too. i don't mind to eat both. lol. no, i'm not greedy!

p/s: since you're vegetarian, guess most of the time you eat soy for your protein?

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed so much reading the conversation between you and your mom, it is really funny. i did not know that pork fat is also used to make tomato sauce or lasagna? I thought Italian always use olive oil :) Oh, how I wish I can make one mean vegetable lasagna too.

Unknown said...

What a good mommie! I would change my recipes too for my son! You need to get her recipe and post it! I'm dying for a piece right now!

Our Food Recipes said...

great conversation..great recipes..and funny too..regards.

Unknown said...

faisal: soy is great for veggie protein, also nuts, whole grains, I actually did a post about it...

betchai: while I love and prefer olive oil, my mom always used pork fat to start her sauce...I think this was a preference of my dad's

angie: you mommie's are all great...and I'm considering doing a video of my mom's tomato sauce and veggie lasagna

food recipes: thanks, I had a lot of fun writing that post...



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