People who know me well, know that I’m not a big fan of Italian food. I don’t hate it, it’s just that I’m not a big fan of tomatoes or cheese, and let’s face it, a lot of Italian food has both. People who know me well also know that the one real exception to this was my mother’s homemade spaghetti sauce. She was not Italian but she was a good, basic cook, and even people like me, who didn’t really like Italian food, loved her spaghetti sauce.

Recently, her sauce has been on my mind. Years ago, I had her tell me her recipe, which I dutifully wrote down on an index card and put in my recipe box. I never made it. It’s barely a recipe because there is a list of ingredients, but no real measurements or instructions, other than how long to cook it and how to cook the meatballs and sausages before they go in the pot. I’m not a natural cook and I was afraid to attempt it. My husband, on the other hand, is an excellent cook, and has been saying he would take a shot at making Mom’s sauce for quite a while.

Today is the day. He’s working on the sauce and plans to make homemade pasta too (which my mother never did). I’m sitting in my office, breathing in the wonderful smells coming up from the kitchen. I’m sure it will be delicious, even if it doesn’t taste “just like mom used to make,” but I hope it comes close.

Today’s PAD prompt was to write a form poem or an anti-form poem. Since I usually write free verse, I decided to try a form. When browsing which form I might try, I got carried away and ended up writing four poems, in four different forms, about my mother’s spaghetti sauce. I hope you like them as much as I liked my mom’s sauce. I’ve left the name of the form above each poem so you’ll know which is which and I’d love to hear if you have a favorite down in the comments.


My mom's spaghetti sauce was great;
Hers was the best, if you ask me.
I wish I knew her recipe
but since she is gone, it's too late.

There was garlic and cheese to grate.
The rest? There is no guarantee.
My mom's spaghetti sauce was great.
I wish I knew her recipe.

Sausage and meatballs on the plate,
served with big mounds of spaghetti.
Buttered Italian bread for me.
For days, we ate, and ate, and ate.
My mom's spaghetti sauce was great. 


I love that you're trying to recreate
my mother's sauce, simmering on the stove.
From a shadow recipe, I see you calculate.
I love that you're trying to recreate
my memories and cannot wait.
I imagine my mother is smiling down from above.
I love that you're trying to recreate
the spaghetti sauce my mother made with love.


My mother
made delicious sauce.
What is that?
I wrote down what she said but
it won't be the same.


Your spaghetti sauce
was the only sauce I liked.
Everyone agreed.
People gobbled the bowl clean
Since you're gone, it's not the same.

~Elise Skidmore ©2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. The sauce came out very good, imo. John managed to get it pretty close to my mother’s sauce, which wasn’t easy considering the sparse recipe he had to work with. I actually had 2 helpings of the spaghetti, so that should tell you something. LOL Thanks for letting me know you like these.