She hated monkeys, pants and rock and roll…

And she also hated to cook.

That was my grandmother. And it’s totally true. In fact, some of her closest friends owned a Chinese restaurant up the street from her house in San Francisco and she ate there virtually every night of the week. But…she had one specialty and would inevitably make it when I visited as a kid because I could sort of get her to do anything. (But every other night we had chicken chow mein at the Wongs’.)

I seem to remember this recipe having some sort of secret — the cream? — which may be gross and disgusting by today’s standards…but I have fond memories of it. And I feel like there was an interesting story about how she came to acquire the recipe — from one of her neighbors? — but I can’t remember what it is exactly.

*I* only just got it from my mother — I inherited all my grandmother’s recipe books, etc., etc…but they’re mostly meal plans and budget notes…which were actually really fun to look through. Want to know what the Lacys had for dinner exactly 50 years ago tonight? I can tell you. Care to wager how much it cost? I’ve got that info, too.

I was thinking of it recently and asked and my mom sent it, so…without further ado…here’s how to make Helen Lacy’s spaghetti:

Add 1/2 lb ground round and 2 T olive oil to a skillet. Brown meat.
Add 1 clove garlic and lightly brown together further.
Add 2 T whipping cream, cook down 5 mins then add 2 T more (or less).
Grate 1/2 onion, 1 small carrot and celery, add to meat mixture and let cook 5 mins.
Add 1 t Italian seasoning.
Add 3 (small) cans tomato sauce, one at a time. Let each can heat before adding another.
Add some Parmesan cheese if you wish.
Cook for 1/2 hour (more or less). Serve with elbow macaroni.
She always made spinach or squash with this. Aww…

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