I came home for lunch today and my wife had made spaghetti and meatballs as a surprise (apparently, it was my daughter’s idea; she had just planned on warming up some leftovers for me).
Normally, this would be a pleasant experience because my wife is a good cook (though I still think I make the better spaghetti). However, she used a can of Vine Ripe brand spaghetti sauce (traditional style) rather than her usual brand. And, you could definitely taste the difference.
The Vine Ripe brand was given to us by my parents who received it from my grandmother. I’m not sure where she got it exactly but I think it was given to her by someone because she (like my parents) never uses canned sauces.
At one point in my life, I used to think all canned spaghetti sauces were the same. But, as I’ve gotten older, I think my taste has gotten a bit more refined and I can notice subtle differences. Some of these aren’t very appetizing.
I should take a minute to explain that my wife, much like me when I make it, does not just use the spaghetti sauce and do nothing with it. In fact, she spends a great deal of time adding things like garlic and basil to it in order to add some flavor the canned variety might not offer on its own. And, that effort has managed to turn some sub-par brands of spaghetti sauce into a serviceable lunch or dinner.
She did that with the Vine Ripe brand too. So, the fact I’m about to tell you I hated it should tell you something.
This sauce had absolutely no flavor to it; even with all her doctoring up; it was like it took the spices she added and absorbed them into some mysterious black hole. You just couldn’t taste them. It was extremely bland and very thin compared to other brands and I found myself practically burying it under cheese. After I was done eating it, I had to down almost an entire can of Mountain Dew to get the bad flavor out of my mouth (and I’m sure there are plenty of people who will tell you Mountain Dew isn’t always the best choice for doing something like that).
I think the only reason I was able to finish a bowl of the spaghetti was the flavor from the meatballs she added. That, and she was sitting across the table from me and I was afraid of hurting her feelings if I didn’t eat every bite; especially since she had to make such an effort to make it before I got home for lunch. But, I didn’t make much of an effort to get seconds either (other than one more meatball).
Again, the cans were free and I’m not going to look a gift horse in a mouth; especially when there are people out there starving. But, if I had a chance to buy this brand, I probably wouldn’t.
In fact, don’t be surprised to see the remaining cans being donated to the local food shelter. Maybe there’s someone out there who can make this sauce a bit more appetizing or is just too hungry to care.