Spaghetti Bolognese

This is from the Paul Hamlyn published Quick and Easy Cook Cards – Continental Favourites, published, I’m guessing, during the seventies. Spaghetti Bolognese isn’t exactly the most challenging dish, but what worried me about the recipe is the lack of basil, oregano and the description of garlic as optional. Garlic should NEVER be optional. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the inclusion of bacon either.

I followed the so-called ‘ABC’ of instructions, noting as I did that whilst the writer has managed to break it down into 3 ‘steps’ these steps are composed of a number of smaller steps, but I’m guessing ‘It’s as easy as ABCDEFGHIJKL and M’ isn’t as snappy. Actually, I’ve no real issue with steps B and C, but step A is not one step. It’s at least 10 steps. It makes a mockery of the ABC step system, if you ask me. But I am no fool, and was sober, so was able to follow ‘step’ A without getting into too much trouble.

After the required cooking time I had something that smelled quite pleasant, my concerns regarding typical 1970s lack of seasoning seemingly unfounded. However, it tasted like the most average bolognese I’ve ever eaten. Perfectly nice, like a school dinner, but unremarkable. I can’t even think of anything to say about it. If I’m going to bother making bolognese rather than cracking open the Dolmio I expect more. I won’t go into how I would improve this, as I’m pretty sure everyone has their own suggestions for improving a bolognese; one person’s perfect bolognese is another’s over-complicated mess, and vice versa.

This may look like (and is) a shoddy photo taken on a phone,  but I suspect even the application of professional photography techniques would not have made it appear any more appetising.

Two other things became apparent during the making of this – 1) I’ve been misspelling ‘bolognese’ all my life (‘bolognaise’) and 2) I still cannot see the point of bay leaves.

Spagged by Alix


4 responses to “Spaghetti Bolognese

  1. I always notice a blandness if I’ve forgotten bay leaves.

  2. This seems remarkably similar to the spag bol (no autocorrect not slag bol) of my childhood. But my mum chucked a liberal sprinkling of herbes de Provence in too. She was very avant garde in her cooking.

  3. The majority of the 1970s meals I’ve cooked have been blandy, bland, bland, bland. I’m always augmenting the recipes with tons of spices and herbs.

    Also, you are the first person I have ever know to question the inclusion of bacon is something. Bacon makes everything better.

  4. I’d say it’s a decent foundational recipe on which to build. And, I’m a child of the 60s and 70s who is only now learning how to build on those foundations, so I can appreciate this recipe.