Wednesday, September 8, 2010

'Silly' sauce

As I picked the tomatoes in the cold morning,
rain soaking through my coverall and running
down my neck, I muttered and I mumbled.

Just what I needed today...
more work!

I always feel guilty complaining about the
garden. How can one complain about the
bounty and the goodness it has produced?
But, really, the last thing I wanted to do
today was more tomatoes.

Thankfully, God had other plans.
He knew that all those crazy tomatoes...were
just what I needed today.

At the beginning of the summer my mom
brought me a box full of, what most people
would have passed off as, junk.

For me, it was a priceless treasure.

Old baking pans, a 'vintage' Mix Master,
baggies of cookie cutters and cake decorating tips,
and recipe books. Some in Dutch, some boasting
butcher paper covers, and some old photo albums
full of newspaper clippings with notes carefully jotted
in the margins and favorites starred in the corner.
All in my Oma's handwriting.
This box of my Oma's baking 'junk' couldn't be
any more precious to me. Memories of gingerbread
house making, decorating dozens of shortbread
cookies, and learning the finer art of pudding
making come flooding back every time I
look inside. And when I came across this precious
recipe, I could hardly contain my joy.

Oma VanVliet's Chili Sauce.
Finding this faded recipe, taped to the back cover with
yellow, peeling scotch tape warmed my heart.
I can still hear Opa telling us to run down to the pantry
to grab a jar of 'Oma's chili sauce'. Opa's English was
near perfect, but he always carried that strong Dutch
accent that caused the word 'chili' to be pronounced more
like 'silly'. I'm pretty sure that us grandkids all thought
we were eating 'silly sauce' until we at least 12 :)

Figuring out the recipe put a smile on my face.
I'm pretty sure Oma used cloves...not 1/2 tablespoon of gloves!
And I can just imagine her sharply correcting herself when she
wrote 'fresh' celery instead of 'raw' celery. Like Opa, she was
very determined to be Canadian. I find it funny how
determined my grandparents were to be English, and
how our generation clings so tenaciously to our Dutch roots.

A perfect accompaniment to nasi goreng, 'Oma
VanVliet's macaroni' and other fall casseroles, chili
sauce was always a staple at our tables. The
thought of carrying on Oma's memories in a sauce
may seem strange to some, but I knew right away
that this was one recipe that would find it's
way back to our meals.

Sewn by Oma, this apron was the perfect choice
for today's work. It, too, makes me smile when I see it.
I wonder what she was thinking when she picked out this
fabric?? Probably it was on the clearance rack - there were
certain elements of her 'dutchness' that could never be erased :)

The recipe didn't call for tears, but I'm pretty sure
some found their way in here.

As the smell of the chili sauce wafted through the house
and Oma's favorite hymns played gently on the radio,
special memories and merciful reminders wove through
my thoughts. What will my grand-daughter remember
about me? What will she think of when she hears my name?
What special memories will she hold in her heart?

Will I ever have a grand-daughter of my own?

I'm quickly brought back to the present by the sound of
laughter and squeals coming from the kids' bedroom.
...and LOUD thumping.
'What are those turkeys up to know?' I wonder with a grin.

This is what the boys
do when Mama's busy
crying in the kitchen.
Well, no one's broken
their arm...yet.

I walk away, smiling,
because those boys sure are boys.
Opa would have loved them.
And, oh, how Oma would've
YELLED at them!!

And I'm so thankful for all those
bloomin' tomatoes.
They were just what I needed today.

"...your Father knows what you need

before you even ask him."
~Matthew 6:8~


  1. Ange, your blog posts make me smile. Thank you for reminding me about the important things in life.
    Also, Levi and Silas have the right idea about how to have fun with a bunk bed. :) definitely something I would have done (would still do). :)

  2. Ange - it was soo very good to see you this past weekend and get one of your very loving hugs and be able to share a few tears. You are such an inspiration to me and I love you to pieces - wish we had more time to talk; wish some days that I could just pop into your kitchen and laugh and cry with you. I feel the same way - no point in trying to stop the kids being kids - if it's entertainment for even 10 minutes and they aren't hurt then it's worth it! Love you girl!

  3. Your post is just beautiful! It brings tears to my eyes; you write so thoughtfully and with such fondness for special memories of special people! I love all that you shared including faded old recipes...I cherish the handwritten ones! Love the vintage/dixie chic apron...wonder what your Oma would think of you proudly wearing it? Now that would bring a smile to her eyes, along with a few tears!
    Lovely post Angela!
    Autumn Hugs,

  4. Always love your posts Angela. Brought back fond memories of my grandma (she was an amazing baker ~ always tarts, pies and cookies around her place and when she came to the cottage). Come to think of it, I have an old, yellowing cookbook of hers with a handwritten recipe for spinach lasagna tucked between the pages ~ one of these days I want to try making it.
    Looks like the boys were having fun ~ I often have to remind myself to let the boys be boys, as long as no one is getting hurt, who cares if they are having fun or getting messy ~ the squeals of laughter are all that matter.

  5. Here I am sitting in the Kings office bawling over 'silly' sauce. yes - a tear just did drip from my cheek to my lap). I love it. From here on in, chilli will forever be referred to as silly sauce in my vocabulary.