Grandma Brinegar's Spaghetti 

(Original recipe from Italian family in Wilkesboro, N.C.)


1 1/2 lb. hamburger

1 package sharp grated cheese

1 large chopped onion

1/2 pod chopped green pepper

2 eggs

1 or 2 slices of bread (wet)

1 tsp. caraway seeds

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. parsley

5 or 6 slices bacon (cut small)

salt and pepper

1 small and 1 large can tomato soup

2 cans tomato paste

1 large can tomato sauce

mushrooms (sliced)

garlic (sliced)

spaghetti noodles

Combine cheese, onion, pepper, eggs, bread, caraway seeds, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper, and mix into hamburger. Form into meatballs. Fry cut-up bacon in very large skillet, then brown meatballs in that oil. Combine soups, paste, sauce, mushrooms and garlic in a very large pot. Drain most of fat from meatballs and bacon and then place in large pot. After combining all ingredients in a very large pot, cook very slowly. (I cook in a crock pot for four to six hours.) Enjoy.


My grandmother, Rose Brinegar, was a legend in Southern cooking circles. She was the terror of the county fair, and when she walked into the competitions, the other old ladies quaked in their thigh-high stockings. This was her spaghetti. But something is wrong with this dish: It is nearly impossible to reproduce. This recipe comes from a stained and ragged index card, so it is definitely missing something. All I can tell you is that I would eat two full plates at 10 or 12 years old and then sneak in at midnight for a bowl of it cold. And then at dawn, before hiking with Grandpa, I would stand in the fridge door, eating it with my hands.

Submitted by chef Victor Matthews



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