At the turn of the century many Southern Italians left the mother land to seek a better and prosperous future. Many arrived in the United States and in several other nations of the world. My grand parents were on one of those "Dream Boats". Michele and Algisa Lepore arrived at Ellis Island and continued their dreams in providing a stable future for their children. I am one of their grand children and to pay homage to their efforts, sacrifices and energy launched the Federal Hill Sunday Gravy sauces, a reflection of their food memories created in the Federal Hill "little Italy" section of Providence Rhode Island. While growing up in Abruzzo Italy, I remember the Sundays spent over my grandparent's farm, smelling the fresh bread, savoring the home-made cured meats, and of course indulge in fresh pasta topped with the classic sauce or whatever my grand mother decided for the day. Those memories and fragrances is all I remember, and promised myself to share them whenever I had the opportunity. Well the time is here, and I would like for you to relive your own food memories and early flavors of childhood every time you open a jar of The Federal Hill Sunday Gravy. Hopefully you get transported back to your own family values and unity. If that happens.......we have all succeeded!
Passing on food traditions is my way to share my culture with you.
Enjoy! Chef Walter Potenza
Small batches production with Chef Walter overseeing the steps.
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Our sauces have been on our tables for over 100 years...they are now available for yours!
Courtesy of James Pasto
Gravy-wars-book In the first chapter of her excellent and enjoyable book “Gravy Wars,” Lorraine Ranalli states that the term gravy is “unique” to South Philly Italians. By “gravy” she means what most people call “sauce” — that tomato-ey stuff that goes on pasta. I met Lorraine a few years ago when she was at a reading with Lisa Cappuccio. I told her that up here in the North End, we — at least some of us – called it gravy too. She was surprised – just as I was surprised that she thought the word gravy was only used by Italian Americans in South Philly. After that I looked into it a bit. I started asking around. Most everyone that I knew called it gravy, by which they meant specifically the meat sauce that they had on their pasta (that is, “macaroni”) growing up. Most people I spoke to did know of a “marinara sauce.” That was a quick sauce, with no meat. But some people called that gravy, too. As I continued to ask, I found that a lot of Italians who came to the United States after the war did not call it gravy, but sauce (salsa, ragù, sugo). That made me think it was strictly an Italian-American term. But then I found some post-WWII immigrants who said gravy, and some Italian Americans who only said sauce. So I don’t know what to think now. One thing seems certain. They don’t have or use the term “gravy” in Italian. If they say salsa, or ragu or sugo, they mean “sauce,” meat or no meat. In America, the term gravy referred to the sauce or dressing used for meat or fish. So it could be that the early Italian immigrants, cooking meat in their tomatoes, and when in American doing like the Americans did, did the right thing and called it “gravy.”
Perhaps this is not a world shattering matter, but if you look up “gravy or sauce” on the internet you will find a lot of discussion about this. People are talking about it, and not just in South Philly, the Boston North End or Federal Hill in Providence.......but across the nation!
So what is it: sauce or gravy? Here is my answer:
What is sauce for the goose is gravy for the gander.