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"Gravy" or "sauce"? - Page 3

post #61 of 92

I have never heard sauce called 'gravy' in Italy.    That is just an American thing. :)

post #62 of 92

I live in italy, and it's never called "sauce" here either - those English-speaking countries, always calling things in english!  smile.gif

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #63 of 92

I think its an italian american thing. My family is pretty old school italian and I grew up calling meat tomato sauce gravy. Its just what I knew it as until I started having friends over when I was young and they were like wtf, gravy on pasta?

 

My grandparents were the generation that came over and spoke italian, not my parents, I'm only 20. But like many others here they quickly dropped the language, I don't know why and I wish they hadn't. I assume assimilation as mentioned earlier.

 

As to the sunday sauce and all that, we never really called it that but growing up at least 2 of the 4  sundays in a month my mother would start making gravy on saturday and sunday we had my grandparents and aunts uncles and whoever over for lunch/dinner. Also I feel i should mention my family and cousins are from CT just east of the city, because there seems to be some controversy around location and terminology.


Edited by shaunmac - 3/29/12 at 7:21am
post #64 of 92

Whatever I call it, it never comes. I always have to go and get it.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #65 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

I live in italy, and it's never called "sauce" here either - those English-speaking countries, always calling things in english!  smile.gif


Oh you Italians, get on the gravy boat already!

 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #66 of 92
I know! Those Italians have a different word for EVERYTHING!! tongue.gif
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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post #67 of 92

Growing up here in Arizona as I did, we always called tomato based liquids (for lack of a better term) sauces.  But then my family are krauts so WTH do I know from Italian!  LOL

post #68 of 92

My Mom's parents came off the boat from Italy in the early 1900's and they never called sauce gravy.  They lived in New Jersey in Union City and in Canarsie, Brooklyn ~ my Mom never called it gravy either.  The first time I ever heard sauce called gravy was when I was in my 20's and my future mother-in-law called it gravy!!!  I was like, "What???"  Her mom came here with her parents when she was a teenager and lived just a few towns away in a town with a lot of Italians in Palisades Park, NJ.  My best friend from the time I was 5 lived across the street from me until we graduated from high school and her parents came here from Italy too (in Dumont, NJ).  Big extended family and I never, ever heard them call it gravy.  To this day, the only time I EVER heard that was when my mother-in-law would be cooking up a pot of sauce on Sundays and would call it that.  My mother also cooked the sauce, usually on a Sunday and so do I!!!  lol ~ 

 

My Mom says it is Salsa in Italian and it was misinterpreted when some Italians came to America.  Paulette also would refer to the sauce as a Ragu ~ but maybe that's because she would put a jar in there with the meatballs, sausage, pork or whatever else she would feel like throwing in there!  lol

 

Funny, but NY or NJ, my Grandparents were in Brooklyn most of that time (70+ years) and if any of their neighbors ever called it gravy, it didn't run off on my Grandma or any of her 6 children!!!  I don't even think I ever heard my husband call it gravy???   Just my mother-in-law!!! 

post #69 of 92

This question has been here many times before. Depends on where you came from, where you live now. It is also called Sunday sauce in some areas. In Brooklyn ol school it is Gravy. In Long Island it was Sauce. Call it whatever but it was good.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #70 of 92

While there are many sources giving many definitions, I'll go with the first two I found:

 

 

gra·vy  

/ˈgrāvē/
 
Noun
  1. The fat and juices exuding from meat during cooking.
  2. A sauce made from these juices together with stock and other ingredients.

 

 

I am of Italian descent and live in the Boston are with many others.  Every Italian I know calls it gravy.   Looking at the definition, it makes sense because even a marinara made by my grandmother started with browning meat (or salt pork in the old days) for flavor. Sure, a Bolognese meat ragu has plenty of meat, but most of the best gravy / red sauces I have had start with meat, even if none ends up in the final product.

 

 

 

sauce  

/sôs/
 
Noun
Thick liquid served with food, usually savory dishes, to add moistness and flavor.

 

 

Again, here the term 'sauce' does not seem to fit.  It should be thick, never thin, and isn't used to add moistness.  Sure it adds flavor, but every addition should, no?  When I think of a sauce, I think of gravy I think of a hearty and thick addition, whether it be the red gravy served over pasta or meat or the brown gravy put on top of turkey.  When I think of 'sauce', I think of hot sauce, barbecue sauce, Bechamel sauce, etc.  Items not integral to the meal, but more of a prepared condiment.

 

For me and all the Italians living in the Boston area at least, "Its gravy, not sauce."

post #71 of 92
If its thick and sitting on top I don't go anywhere near it. How does the Olive Garden get it to be so thick anyway?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #72 of 92

I'm not sure as I've never been.  No self respecting Italian does.  ;-)   And gravy, or 'red sauce', should always be thick (whether a hearty ragu or fresh marinara), NEVER be thin and runny.  My expectation of the Olive Garden is overcooked and poorly drained pasta sitting in a bowl of thin gravy.  Hopefully I am incorrect, but it's what I have come to expect with chains.

post #73 of 92

OK I joined this site due to all the responses. First off I am from Boston and I am 2ND gen. Italian American. My great grandparent on both sides were off the boat in the early 1900's. I do not know Italian and neither do my parents. My grandparents on both sides speak it with there siblings and to each other on occasion. I asked my fathers side (who are Sicilian and a lot tougher and strict) why did you not speak/teach your kids Italian? They said that they were taught that they were English and didn't want there kids to go through what they went through growing up. I am 36 years old and am lucky enough to know my great grandparents. My mothers father came over at the age of 12 in 1902, 75 years later I was born. My dad calls it gravy, mom calls it gravy only if there is meat in it (meatballs, sausage, lamb, and sometimes pork) both sides of my grandparents call it gravy. I call it sauce, a gravy in my opinion belongs on roast beef, turkey and potatoes. A white gravy goes on biscuit's and chicken fried steak. Fish is a meat, clams are a meat, shrimp is a meat. Clam sauce is started with a meat and you use the juices and other ingredients plus stock to make your sauce not gravy. A sauce does not have to be thick. That ones for you and everybody you know Boston. everybody should listen to the real Italians who live there and was raised in Italy. So thank you Pongi I will start to call it sugo di carne or salsa. Its time all you Italian Americans get back to your roots and learn your blood line. I am trying to bring bring Italy to America. I Make salami (dried sausage) mozzarella, ricotta, almond biscotti, and wine. 

post #74 of 92

Families, groups, subgroups, cultures, subcultures, all speaking the same language use different words.  How about tonic (what i grew up calling colas, fizzy orangeades, etc), soda and pop.  For me a soda is a mixture of chocolate syrup, soda water, cream and ice cream.  Pop is a word some people use for dad.  Schwepps, we call "tonic water"

For me ice cream, milk and flavoring is called a frappe.  A shake is only milk and flavoring or fruit. 

In my family (in boston) we called the soft white bread bought sliced in packages in every store "American bread".  "white bread" meant any bread that was white and not whole wheat, and in our family it was always some ersatz Italian bread. 

 

So is it any wonder there are different words for the tomato stuff you put on pasta. 

 

My parents, born in italy between 1910 and 1920, emigrated to Boston in the late 1920s,wth their parents, called it tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce or more often "sugo".  My mother's family never ate tomato sauce on pasta - they ate soup.  My motehr would get all huffy and superior when people would say "Oh you're italian, you must make great pasta!"  She'd answer in her supercilious tone "WE don't eat PASTA, WE eat SOUP" and being Tuscan they usually did, though my father's family, from the same area, did eat pasta.  It was just my maternal grandfather's quirk that he didn;t like pasta asciutto (that is, not in broth).  For christmas, it was home made ravioli in broth.  But we did occasionally have pasta with tomato sauce at home - just not as long as our grandfatehr was alive!. 

 

How can there be a "right" way to call it? 

 

Italian-american friends of ours would call it "gravy" when it was an important sauce, with meat, for a holiday or sunday.  Others would call it "sauce"

 

I never heard an Italian in Italy call it "salsa" - only italian-americans.  "Salsa", at least in Rome, means tomato paste, bought in a tube and used by the teaspoonful.  But it could be a regional word for tomato sauce, i don;t know. 

 

And of course, Italians, since they speak Italian and not English, do not call it either "sauce" or "gravy", but "sugo" - and "sugo" really comes from "succo" which means the juice or the concentrate (the "succo" of the matter means the essence of the matter - like "let's get down to brass tacks").  But sugo now means any sauce that derives from the juice of something, whether we're talking about what americans call turkey gravy, "au jus" or tomato sauce or gravy.  They don't distinguish between them, they;re all "sugo" (or if it's a light au jus, they may say "sughetto" - little sauce). 

 

So let's just keep our regional and sub-cultural words for things which are so quickly being lost in a too generic language without regional accents or character.  i will always call fizzy drinks "tonic" and milk-and-ice-cream beaten up "frappes" and i will always pahk the cah in hahvid yahd.  And call it "gravy" or "sauce" or "salsa" or "sugo" or zxfpkwx if you want.  Just make it well, thick or thin, with or without meat, and mix it in with your pasta smile.gif

 

And watch the great episode of the Sopranos where they go to Naples and are served a tomato-less clam sauce and he says "Hey, where's the gravy!? I want GRAVY!" 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #75 of 92

That was said by "Pauly Walnuts"

Quote:
And watch the great episode of the Sopranos where they go to Naples and are served a tomato-less clam sauce and he says "Hey, where's the gravy!? I want GRAVY!" 

... And everyone at the table (not from New Jersey) considered him an idiot. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #76 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

That was said by "Pauly Walnuts"

... And everyone at the table (not from New Jersey) considered him an idiot. 

true, Iceman, but not because he called it "gravy" but because he was so ignorant about actual italian food! 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #77 of 92

LOL.   You just kinda sorta made the point ...

 

Quote:
... because he was so ignorant about actual italian food! 

It's "sauce" ... and not "gravy". 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #78 of 92

People on this thread use "gravy" completely different than me. In my experience, gravy is simply a type of sauce that is made by thickening some sort of base liquid or ingredients, usually with a roux made with meat drippings or butter, but often with corn starch or some other thickener. I have never considered whether there was meat in it or not because most types of gravy in the Midwest do not have meats in them, though they are usually made from meat drippings. An example of one that isn't is basic cream gravy, which is nothing more than cream, béchamel, salt and pepper. It is often made with sausage for sausage gravy, but is a gravy even without the sauce. Beef gravy, chicken gravy, turkey gravy and the like do not have meat in them though they are made from drippings. What makes them "gravy" is the fact that they are made using a thickener. Without thickener, they are simply another type of sauce.

 

I have always assumed the same about tomato sauce ever since I saw some Italians making tomato gravy by starting with a roux. I just assumed their use of the term "gravy" was the same as mine, that "tomato gravy" used a roux and "tomato sauce" was either reduced or thickened with tomato paste, although I guess "thickening with tomato paste" could technically make it fit my definition of "gravy".

 

For what it's worth, I make my beef ragu starting with beef dredged in flour, so my ragu would qualify as a "gravy" under my own definition since the flour on the beef thickens the tomatoes and sauce.

Brandon O'Dell

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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post #79 of 92

Actually, thinking about what i wrote, people call it "sugo" but also simply "pomodoro" - e.g. "spaghetti al pomodoro" means spaghetti with tomato sauce.  Probably "pomodoro" is more commonly used, and since there are so many tomato based pasta sauces, the others are referred to as "ragu" or "amatriciana" or "pummarola" or "alla norma", etc. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #80 of 92
Gravy to me here in England is pretty much the term used when you make it with the juices and or fat from a meat joint or chicken or turkey , thickened with flour and made with stock . Everything else is a sauce .
post #81 of 92

I am a second and third generation Italian/Sicilian/American. Some of my family used sauce for tomato sauce and gravy for all the American type meat, juice type sauces, but some of the older relatives who were either born in Sicilia or italia or came here young and early on called tomato sauce gravy. The reason fr this as far as I can tell is because when italian/Sicilian's first came here and especially to NY it was an early attempt to translate and communicate. I can just see it now. Thanksgiving dinner and American friends were hosting a gathering with their newly Italian American friends and telling them what they were eating "gravy" on their Turkey, a proud, Sicilian Grandmother says, " tomorrow - I will show you our gravy. I will show you a Sicilian "gravy" lol : ) Mangia!!

post #82 of 92

No such distinction in German either - it is all called a sauce, if you want to be fancy, or "Soße" in the germanized version. If in doubt, stick with the french. Jus for the drippings, sauce for everything else... They wrote the book after all....

post #83 of 92
To be clear, this is a linguistic issue that pertains only to the US.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #84 of 92

>>pertains only to the US.

 

ah,,,, not a good assumption.

 

various languages have multiple "representations" for "sauce" and "gravy"

 

none of which should shatter anyone's earth, anyway.

post #85 of 92
In this particular case I don't see how the issue of tomato sauce being called sauce or gravy pertain to any other part of the world really. We're talking about the red stuff that goes on spaghetti.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #86 of 92
Apart from gravies, made from the meat juices with a thickener and/or wine/stock, everything else I make (I'm Scots) is a sauce. biggrin.gif

I agree, it's a peculiarly US argument. wink.gif
post #87 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel View Post

Apart from gravies, made from the meat juices with a thickener and/or wine/stock, everything else I make (I'm Scots) is a sauce. biggrin.gif

I agree, it's a peculiarly US argument. wink.gif

And a rather narrow one geographically!

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Chef,
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post #88 of 92
Sorry to bump a dead thread here, but this popped up on my Facebook feed today. Figured I may as well post the link here. This is Lidia Bastianich's take on sauce vs gravy

http://blog.lidiasitaly.com/2014/02/sauce-or-gravy.php
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #89 of 92

A)   Definition of sauce (n)

Bing Dictionary
  • sauce
  • [ sawss ]
  •  
  1. flavoring liquid for food: a thick liquid that is served with food to add extra flavor

- OR - 

  1. B)  Definition of gravy (n)

    Bing Dictionary
    • gra·vy
    • [ gráyvee ]
    •  
    1. sauce made with meat juices: the juices produced by meat while it is being roasted, fried, or broiled, or a sauce made with these juices or another liquid and poured over cooked meat and vegetables
  2.  
  3. The best gravies/sauces served with pasta start out with meat drippings and would have meat cooked in it to give flavor (be it meatballs, sausage, etc.).  The worst are thin and watery.  Assuming you agree,  then it would appear the truer definition of the thick red tomato ragu served over pasta would be 'gravy' (as many Italian Americans call it) and not 'sauce' as many Americans call it.  Unless you are eating a thin and watery one... in which case your opinion doesn't count.  ;-)
post #90 of 92

I would call it sauce. But I don't know much haha. I think it would technically be a gravy?

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