Every year I write a Christmas email to you. But the Christmas email from 2010 below was by far the most popular and most read email we have ever sent out! For our Tenth Anniversary celebration, I wanted to share it again with you, complete with some dated photos. Our supporters still tell me they continue to make Momma’s homemade sauce and it is the best. MERRY CHRISTMAS! – John Stemberger
Ok, so this is a little bit different this year … But please read on.
Recently I had the staff of the Policy Council over to my home for a Christmas dinner to celebrate God’s goodness this past year. Even though I wanted to order some food to be brought in, my wife Olivia insisted that she prepare my late mother’s famous family recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce for our staff. Now this is not like the watery “marinara sauces” that most restaurants serve you. This is the real deal. It is a thick, stewed, gravy-like, Sicilian red sauce that is made from scratch with fresh Roma Tomatoes and is “hands-down” better than any sauce I have ever tasted in any Italian restaurant.
At Christmas last year my extended family even had a contest with all my adult siblings to see who could best re-create the magical sauce just like Mom made when she was still alive and with us. And in a blind taste test by my own family members, Olivia won the contest for sauce “Most like Moms!” (original recipe at bottom)
It occurred to me as I was sharing this family tradition of Momma’s spaghetti sauce with our staff dinner guests that the recipe for this sauce was actually handed down by my mother from her mother, who learned how to make it as a little girl from my great grandmother in Italy. So for my children, this is at least a fourth generation tradition.
And as I began to think about this, suddenly what was just a really good spaghetti sauce, became the broader context of generations of people connected by families who pass on traditions, values, memories and simple but important truths about life itself.
What is truly sad on this Christmas is that an increasing percentage of our children, families and communities in Florida and across the country will have no life experiences with a family to relate any tradition, values or future generations to. Inner cities devastated by unwed moms with absent fathers; children whose lives were unexpectedly shattered through the tragedy of a divorce; the elderly who will in greater numbers pass on prematurely in loneliness with no one to care for them; and children who have never been to a wedding much less seen how a “marriage” operates in their little worlds, will have no vision of marriage or family to even consider for the future.
But this is why we fight. This is why we labor. This is why the Board and the staff of the Florida Family Policy Council will not rest until we have used every resource entrusted to us to see life protected, marriage defended and the family strengthened. Families are an amazing gift of common grace from God. This Christmas season, we who have any semblance of a family at all in this broken world, should be humbled and grateful for this great gift from our heavenly Father.
Marriage–and to some extent families– gives us a hint into the mystery of the nature and character of the triune God himself. Unity and diversity. Oneness and individuality. God the Father, sent his only begotten Son to the earth to be born into a humble family and raised until the time when he was to give the ultimate gift– himself. By taking the wrath of God upon himself, Christ takes upon himself the punishment for our sins. This is the great gift that Christmas gives us: The Gospel, the Good News, Emmanuel– God with us… And would that we never grow familiar with the amazing grace found in this truth.
May God grant us all the ability to see his grace everywhere we look — and to be continually amazed by it.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Florida Family Policy Council
1 basket of Roma tomatoes- (about 25+) (Roma is important)
Gently bring the tomatoes to a boil in a pot of water until the skins start popping open (about 20 min)
When tomatoes are boiled peel off and remove the skins of the tomatoes and discard skins
While tomatoes are boiling sauté in olive oil, one diced onion and 3-4 garlic cloves diced
Add a half cup of red wine
Place tomatoes in the sautéed onions and garlic
Add one 12ounce can of tomato paste
Add a ¼ cup of water to the paste and sauce
Add one table spoon dry oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh
Add half table spoon dried basil or 4-6 fresh leaves
Add 2 table spoons of salt and half table spoon of pepper
Add 3 table spoons of honey (or 1 heaping table spoon of sugar)
Add 2-3 table spoons of grated Romano cheese
Take all these ingredients and puree them together in a blender
Place sauce in a large pot and simmer uncovered on low heat for about 3 hours
Add cooked meatballs or sausage about 2 hours into cooking
(Don’t overcook meat as it will also cook some in the sauce)
Cooking will burn off water and make the sauce thick. Stir and watch during cooking process.
Serve with pasta of your choice.