Sheila’s Story about her “Irish Spaghetti” recipe

Healthy Pasta Sauce

Okay, I’m not a great cook. I would never pretend to be. I cook simply and clean, which makes it easier for me to stay healthy. Outside of cooking a protein, vegetable and having a salad for almost every meal my tastier repertoire comes from my big Irish family. There are 8 for us, 4 girls and 4 boys. Dinner was a huge part of our lives. No matter what we were doing the 10 of us sat down for dinner together. Can you imagine my mother trying to do it any other way? It wasn’t a chore or a bother, it was where we all caught up with each other. I learned more at that table than I could tell you. Gratefully, we still all love to catch up together around the table every chance we get.

With everyones busy schedules, I’m so surprised that my brothers and sisters maintain that tradition with their kids as much as they do. Thanks, Mom!

Growing up we ate a lot of “Big Pot” meals. I assumed they were all from our Irish heritage (stews and all). Since I could talk I called this pasta sauce, “Irish Spaghetti”. Everything in our house was Irish. My dad was from Waterford, Ireland, and my mother’s family went from Ireland to Toronto, Canada, and then to the US. Their Irish roots ran deep.

This pasta sauce was so far from any Italian red sauce that I’ve ever tasted that it sealed my belief that this came from Ireland. Literally, only 2 years ago I found out something different. In front of my mom, I was giving my friend Mary, who’s also Irish our “Irish Spaghetti Sauce” recipe. She loved the sauce and couldn’t believe it was Irish. My mom started laughing. She said, “what do you mean Irish sauce?” I said, “I’m giving her grandmothers recipe.” She laughed hysterically and said, “Grandmother’s idea of pasta sauce was tomato paste and water. Her idea of spices were salt and pepper.” (I know the stereotype.) She preceded to tell me that my Aunt Evelyn’s sister moved to India in the late 1950’s and this recipe was given to her by a chef at their favorite restaurant. When they brought it to the states they put it over pasta because that’s what all the kids loved.

We ate this all the time…and still do. The allspice really should’ve tipped me off! But, that just goes to show you how deep our belief systems run even though there’s no truth to them. (That’s a whole other blog…lol)  And because of that I still call it Irish Spaghetti sauce even though there’s no Irish and for me, no spaghetti.

It’s good, healthy, and I hope with this, you start wonderful memories around your table!




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About the Author: Sheila Heylin, the knowledgeable host of Happiness Series, lives in Chicago and Los Angeles. It was in LA where Sheila discovered healthy living. She realized that “what you’re not used to and what you hate are two different things.” She and Tania partnered to create Happiness Series and build an online and offline community that fosters wellness and happiness.

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