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real ragł how to make a proper meat sauce
by Yee-Fan Sun |
1 2

We live in a fast culture, where no one ever has enough time. Asked how we're doing, and the answer's likely to include some lament about how monumentally busy we are. We whine about everything we have to do, we moan about all the stress, but truth be told, we kind of like it this way; we think our lack of time just means our lives are full. And so we want fast cars, fast internet, fast food, instant cash, because we think that having everything faster means we'll cram in more living in our lives. We forget that life isn't a jam-packed to-do list, and that taking the time to enjoy the process can be even more rewarding than simply rushing to reach the goal.

Yes, I'm guilty of this too. Most days, after way too many hours spent slaving away in front of a computer screen, I'm all about the speedy meal. Somewhere between six o'clock and half past, I start thinking about dinner, and by seven o'clock or thereabouts, I expect my meal to be ready for the eatin'. Fortunately, there are plenty of tasty, nutritious meals that actually can be pulled together in an hour or less. Still, some of my favorite dishes, I have to admit, are the ones that take a little longer. Which is why every once in awhile, I remind myself to slow down, take a break, and spend some good quality time with my food.

A good thick Bolognese-style meat sauce, ideally served over thick, fresh homemade egg noodles, is one of life's great, slow, culinary pleasures. If you're wondering how a meat sauce can possibly be described as slow food, when all it requires is browning ground meat and mixing it up with some tomato sauce, then you've obviously been missing out all these years, because that version of meat sauce? So not the real thing. A proper ragł -- the traditional Italian meat sauce, not the stuff that comes from a jar -- requires hours of simmering to get the meat good and tender, the sauce rich and thick, the flavors gloriously melded together. It requires patience and commitment, because once you have everything going in the pot, it'll need to be checked on from time to time, for the better part of an afternoon. Still, as the smells of good Italian home cooking fill your pad, and you get into the rhythm of wandering over to the pot to give it yet another stir, it's near impossible not to feel a little lift in your spirits, a cozy warmth building in your soul.

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