Archive for September 7, 2012

Traditions.  Ever since I was a kid and I joined my first T-Ball team, the Pirates – I’ve had them.

I’ve always put on my left sock and then my right sock.  NEVER the other way around as it would be bad luck.

I’ve always wore my stirrups up high to my knees – after putting on my baseball pants inside out and rolling the bottoms of the pant legs into my socks, then pulling the pants right-side out.  This kept the knees up high and in place when you slid.

I always broke in a new glove with Neat’s Foot oil over the winter and used my back-up glove until spring.

Wore number 11 whenever possible.

In Basketball season I always dribbled four times, took a deep breath, then dribbled one more time before attempting a free-throw.

I never left the court at practice before I made my last shot.

At running races I never warm-up in my race shoes.  After my warm-up I change into my flats and know that it is “go-time.” – I stop joking and talking with other runners and get ready to get in my zone.

I always crouch down below the other runners for a moment before the gun and think about Dom.  I run my fingers over the initials on my shoes and say to myself quietly, “no matter what happens today.  Don’t give up.”

Consistency breeds comfort.  It calms me when everything going on around me is trying to stress me out.  I like having that comfort, knowing that I just need to stick to my plan and let the chips fall where they may.

But this past weekend I got to share a tradition with Landry for our next marathon down in Houston this January.  The traditional “making of the gravy”.

Some refer to this as “Sauce” – but pasta sauce that is made with flavoring from “meat” is Gravy where I come from.  Pasta sauce without meat is “Sauce” or “Marinara”.

Making homemade Gravy is an all-day event.  There is the making of the meat balls from Ground beef, ground pork and ground veal, bread, parsley, salt, pepper, garlic and a bit of egg to hold it all together.  There is sausage to season and brown, same for bone in Beef Shin, Bone in Pork and braciole.

Then there is the 2-3 hours of cooking down the tomato puree before adding the meat, two browned whole onions, celery, parsley, basil, whole garlic, salt, pepper and sugar to cut some of the acidity.

Once all the ingredients are added, another 2-3 hours over a slow, rolling boil to thicken the gravy and give it it’s taste.

Before every marathon training cycle I go through this ritual and make an extra-large “batch” that I can freeze into dinner-sized portions that Dawn, Landry and I can eat on Saturday evenings prior to my Sunday long runs.

This way I only have to make gravy one time and we are good to go for the entire training cycle when spending 4 hours or more on my feet in the kitchen is not the best thing for me as the mileage mounts.

This past weekend I got to go through the process with Landry and we even went the further step to make the pasta itself from scratch.  One egg, one cup of flour per person with some salt added.

Knead the dough into a large ball and cover it for 45 minutes – then flatten and put through the hand-cranked pasta machine to form the pasta or the “hair” as Landry was referring to it.

It was a lot of fun having Landry at the kitchen island throughout the process, she even got a chance to turn the crank and make her own noodles.

Landry making pasta with Dad


So with 4 ½ months to go to the starting line in Houston we still have quite a bit of work to do to prepare for our run at a sub-3 hour marathon – but at least we don’t have to worry about the cooking.

Thanks for all the help this past weekend Landry.  Best pasta I’ve ever had.