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That’s One Bigga Meata ball……….

January 20th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments
57 meatballs

57 meatballs


That’s 1 beega meata ball……….


John McCleary, my father, was a great spaghetti and meatball maker and eater.  For 62 years, he and Mum coordinated their efforts dozens, maybe hundreds of times to present this delicious meal to our entire family. When Dad was younger, he helped more, but as it became more difficult for him to stand for long periods,  he sat in his chair at the head of the kitchen table and peeled garlic and cut up green pepper.  Then my mother would put that and the already ground beef through the hand cranked meat grinder.  Then Dad would begin rolling meatballs by hand, and lining them up on the table.   When we all arrived with our families he could tell us exactly how many meatballs he made that morning and what time he started working on this meal.    And, the house would smell amazing….. garlic, tomato sauce, frying beef.   Oh my God, that was the most amazing smell, and Dad sat in his place of honor with his bragging rights that he (and Mum of course) had made something we all loved.  My oldest son and I loved to have a meatball right out of the frying pan with just a little sauce and a bit of salt.  Yummm.   I never thought I could recreate that meal for my own family, but a long while back, Dad wrote down what he put in his meatballs and sauce, so I could try.  I have tweaked it only slightly….  I use fewer cracker crumbs, and eggs, and more meat in the meat balls, but the sauce is the same.   I am always confident that when I put the effort into this meal, that both of my sons will be here with their big appetites.


This morning, I put together tomato sauce and meatballs.  Dad was on my mind the whole time.  Today is a big football day, semi finals for the season.  I could care less about that because Downton Abbey is on tonight and that is my thing.   But, because it is mostly a ‘man’s’ day, I thought I would make the effort and do it up big with this meal.  For almost a whole year, I have been watching my diet and weight.  I have done pretty well, but today I will feast.  Why?  Because I made 57 meatballs (I will announce that to everyone later, like Dad use to in the old days) and the aroma in my house is beautiful.

This meatball is for you Dad!

  1. Brother John
    January 20th, 2013 at 17:39 | #1

    Geez isn’t that funny Brenda made PaPa meatballs for me and a guest for the games today too. Like you love the smell, Man could he make great meatballs.

  2. Brenda
    January 21st, 2013 at 00:12 | #2

    Hey Sis, Love this story! I have Papa’s recipe too and as John said I made some today. In fact I can still taste the garlic in my mouth. The only change I made is that I bake the meatballs instead of fry them. It is just a matter of me wanting to save time. I also confess that I don’t make the sauce from scratch anymore because my men eat the meatballs up so quickly there is tons of sauce left and no meatballs! Thanks again for posting this! Oops..I didn’t count the meatballs! Bummer…

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