Fall, Food & Community

Fall has officially arrived, and with it, cooler temperatures. And as the seasons change, I feel for different food, namely comfort food. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to grow up working, cooking and eating in my family’s restaurant, and I’ve nurtured a lifelong love of food. I’m also privy to some cherished recipes that have been handed down through the generations.
To kick off fall, I’m making the very meatballs I helped my father make, so many times, so many years ago in the restaurant. Though it’s long gone, that hallowed place will forever be a part of my soul, as will the times I shared with my father.
As a writer, I find myself drawing on that sense of community, again and again as a theme, sometimes even unconsciously. I think all of us are seeking that in one form or another, and food is just one way, and a fun way, to find it. Through food, my characters are striving to create community, just as I am with my meatballs. Those meatballs aren’t just dinner, they’re memories, and pay homage to those who taught and shared. They keep me connected to my roots, my family, and myself.
Here are the recipes for homemade meatballs, and spaghetti sauce. As you can see by reading over the ingredients for the sauce, it makes a lot! I’ll be having people over, preparing care packages and maybe even freezing some.

In my blog last week about the chaos of moving, I related my woes to Frances, in Under the Tuscan Sun. Incidentally, I love the scenes in which Frances is cooking for all of the contractors – beautiful community J

NOTE: You’ll notice that there are no specific cooking instructions for the sauce. I include in the caption, simmer until it ‘feels good’, which is a phrase I oft heard growing up in relation to cooking. It means you can’t hurt this sauce – enjoy!

PLEASE SHARE: How are you creating community through food? What favorite recipes bring back good memories for you? What books have you read that have fun food scenes in them? Let me hear from you!

FRONT OF SAUCE RECIPE CARD: This is my Mom’s handwriting.

BACK OF SAUCE RECIPE CARD – Simmer everything together slowly for 5 -6 hours, all day, or until it feels good.  Sauce will reduce. Remove bones before eating. Enjoy!

FRONT OF MEATBALL RECIPE CARD – This is my handwriting – and as you can see by the state of the recipe card, it’s well loved!


Rebecca E. Neely is an author, lover of spoon rings, diners, the Steelers & great reads.

Thanks for reading! Love to hear your thoughts.

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