Monday, March 12, 2007

Tomato Sauce Day

Yesterday was Tomato Sauce Day, the day that Matt's (very Italian) family makes tomato sauce for the year ahead. I think I'm the only person that actually enjoys Tomato Sauce Day, probably because it always ends up with everyone in the pool after a long day's work, but mostly because my family is quite small and I always enjoy the big family affairs of Matt's huge family.

So here's a glimpse into how a traditional Italian family makes tomato sauce...

Step 0. Wash the Tomatoes
We washed the 20 crates of tomatoes on Saturday ready for the actual making of the sauce on Sunday. This is the boring part and your fingers always get all wrinkly by the end of it ewww.

Step 1. Cut the Tomatoes
The Sauce Day ConvoyI should mention that everyone always plans to get up at like 5am and get started, but no one is ever that organised on a Sunday morning, so we actually started cutting at about 8am. Me and Matt got there early, but a few people arrived later on (shame shame shame) . I got a photo of the driveway at about 11am, and about 3 more cars arrived after that!

We cut them up in quarters and get the core out. Everyone has their own technique for getting the core out (and everyone thinks theirs is the best way, but I KNOW my way is the best). Notice that everyone's wearing gloves so that our hands don't turn red just yet - there'll be plenty of that later on.

1. Cut The Tomatoes

Step 2. Boil the Tomatoes
We put the tomatoes in material bags, and boil them in a big pot to cook them and soften them up. This is what the dad's usually do, and everyone doing it usually gets burnt some way or another.

2. Boil the Tomatoes

Step 3. Run them through the Machine
The boiled tomatoes are all run through this crazy contraption that has one "in" pipe for the tomatoes, and two "out" pipes - one for the sauce and one for the scraps. The scraps are run through a couple of times to get all the juice out. I love doing this part, but all the steam coming out of it means that your pores get filled with sauce - which is not a good place for sauce to be.

3. Run them through the Machine

Step 4. Put the sauce in a Big Bucket
All the sauce that comes from the machine goes in a big bucket ready for the bottles. We have to stir the bucket occasionally to keep the consistency constant otherwise the bottom gets all chunky.

4. Put the Sauce in a Big Bucket

Step 5. Fill up the Bottles
We fill up all the old beer bottles with the sauce, leaving enough space so that the bottles don't explode on the shelf. This part takes skill and you can usually figure out how much to put in the pot so that you can fill the bottle to the right place all in one hit. When filling starts sauce pretty much goes EVERYWHERE including in your shoes, in your hair, on the dog, on the ceiling etc etc.

5. Fill up the  Bottles

Step 6. Close 'em Up
Putting the lids on is the worst job and I'm really bad at it - I usually just stick to other stuff. That's Chloe (Matt's brother's girlfriend) putting the tops on.

6. Close em Up

Step 7. Boil the Bottles
All the bottles go back into the pots and are boiled to sterilise and seal them.

7. Boil the Bottles

Step 8. Pack the Bottles up
After they're all boiled, the bottles are split up between everyone, and the sauce is ready to go. But of course nobody actually feels like pasta after spending a day pretty much soaked in the stuff.

8. Pack the Bottles Up

Step 9. Bury the Evidence in the Back Yard
All the scraps then get burried in the back yard in a big hole. You can't really see how deep the hole is but there's a lotttaaaa tomataa in there.

9. Bury the Evidence in the Back Yard

So that's it! After we finished me and Elissa (Matt's little sister) were the only ones who braved the icy cold pool, but I think I would have gone in no matter what. And I can tell you that the shower after sauce day is the BEST shower you'll ever have in your life.


Dana said...

Haha! Omg that's so hardcore!

The Crazy Si... said...

now i'm hungry ... mmmm sauce

(dis)enchanted said...

love the evidence burying ! who would have thought??

its fun to have found your blog (through flickr, actually) .. i just moved from perth !!

James said...

Hahaha, that's really quite insane, sauce for the entire year! I can't even imagine 20 crates of tomatoes.

Well documented and the 'Machine' really does look quite disturbing :P