Friday, September 23, 2011

John Philip Sousa's Favorite Food

One of the most enjoyable aspects of history for me is the little tidbits of trivia you discover along the way that when taken together help enrich your understanding of the past.  In fact the word trivia comes from the Latin word "trivium" which was the place where three roads met.  In the same way, trivia is the intersection of information.



John Philip Sousa was obviously best known for the stirring marches he composed, but perhaps, if you are so inclined, you might like to try his favorite meal as reported in the Chicago Herald on July 23, 1916.  It's pretty much spaghetti and meatballs, but for a 1922 cookbook contribution, he titled the dish:

Pelotas á la Portuguese
Tomato sauce: one quart can of tomatoes; put in kettle on top of stove, simmer or let boil slowly for one and a half hours. Add pepper, salt, two onions cut in fine slices, four allspice and four cloves, the cloves and allspice to be added after it starts to boil. After one and a half hours add:

• Pelotas (meat balls) – Two pounds chopped meat (beef, as hamburger steak). Add one onion chopped fine, one cup bread crumbs, a little parsley, salt and pepper. Make into meat balls about the size of a plum. Put into sauce and boil one and one-half hours slowly. This makes fully three hours’ slow boiling for the sauce.

• Spaghetti – use a package or a pound of spaghetti (not macaroni). Have a large pot of boiling water with about one table-spoonful of salt. Slide the spaghetti into the water, Do not break it. Boil exactly twenty minutes. Must be tender, not tough, not doughy.


To sauce add three bay leaves one hour before taking off the stove. Serve spaghetti on large platter, pouring tomato sauce over it. Serve pelotas on smaller platter, allowing a small quantity of sauce to remain. Serve grated parmesan cheese on side. Use the piece of cheese to grate, not bottled cheese.

Mr. Sousa was quoted in 1916 and again in 1922 as saying, "This serves from six to eight people and is my favorite dish."



6 comments:

Michael said...

I knew I had a warm spot in my heart for Sousa's music. I never knew he and I shared a common taste in food. Although, my favorite adds an italian sausage (sweet or hot), and ground beef to the sauce. Making it a trio. Wonderful. Hard to imagine a better supper - unless it's .....

mary said...

Oh, the exotic names we give our food! Pelotas - little balls; spaghetti - little twines; vermicelli - little worms; mmm...

Brett Payne said...

I like this, or slight variations of it, too - anything with spaghetti and tomato hits the spot for me - but I find that the meatballs tend to disintegrate if cooked for that long!

Chuck Kelly said...

I'm hungry.

Nate Maas said...

I see I'm in good company. Spaghetti is one of my favorite dishes too!

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