Luigi’s Grandma’s Homemade Sauce

The story that still breaks my heart a little

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Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

The Recipe

I wish I could relay the full recipe for you, but that is not possible. But, I will say that inside each carefully boiled jar was fresh tomatoes, one fresh basil leaf and a spoonful of sugar.

Finding Gold

When she died in 1992, her sauce process was sadly not carried on inside our family.

Culture Day

I taught 6th grade Social Studies for twenty years and I always began the year by learning about each other’s cultures. I created Culture Day, and kids brought in 1–2 items that demonstrated their culture to the class.


Luigi was a sweet, happy-go-lucky Italian boy. His grandparents were from Italy and on Culture Day, he brought in a tray of ziti with homemade sauce. He shared how his family boiled the jars and then stored them for a year, always using last year’s jars to cook with.

The Gift

The next day, Luigi came to school and told me his grandma wanted me to have a gift. He handed me — YES, a mason jar of that homemade goodness.

Saucy Heartbreak

I never did tell Luigi what happened to that jar. It broke my heart too much to tell him. Luckily, he never asked me how it was.

  1. Thank You, Teachers
  2. The Day a Student Locked Me Out of My Own Classroom

Coach & Writer. Musings on being a woman, creator of Body Love, alchemist, mother,

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