Before I get to that secret ingredient (or even to the no-cook tomato sauce that will change your life, I promise you), let me set something straight, for the record: This isn’t actually my no-cook tomato sauce. It belongs to my friend’s mom Peg, or Mrs. Schultz, as I still call her some 30 years later.
Amelia and I were friends and so were our moms, something I never quite understood. It was an unlikely pairing. Mrs. Schultz was everything my German mom was not. She had short, spiky hair and butterfly glasses, wore Birkenstocks and crazy patterned running tights — outside the house. (Mind you, this was in the ’80s and well before the advent of Lululemon and the era of Athleisure. It was long before Birkenstocks were cool the first time around.)
She also told us if we smelled, let us take baths with Howard the dog, and didn’t get upset if we made a big mess in the kitchen. My mom’s kitchen, as far as I could tell, miraculously produced meals with not a splatter nor a spill. For this reason — and because Mrs. Schultz worked as a caterer — it was at the Schultz’ home beneath a bright blue neon sign that said “Let’s Eat” that I learned to cook.