Monday was Noah’s official 13th birthday.  In the aftermath of the bar mitzvah, the actual milestone went largely unnoticed.  In fact, the day was pretty suckish for the kid as he had a ton of homework and was beginning to come down with strep throat (Yes, both boys waited until after the party to get sick.  Thank you for answering my prayers, God.)

As dinner time approached I realized that the day had gone by without any meaningful acknowledgment of his birthday.  And despite the lavish party over the weekend, I felt bad.  I wracked my brain for some demonstration of love on the day that my child would become a teenager.

There were no more presents to open, we didn’t have any candles, and there was too much work to go out to a family dinner.  I was almost defeated when suddenly an idea struck me, but I wasn’t sure if Dave would go for it.  We had promised ourselves that we would only consider this particular display of affection for very, very special occasions.  Would this qualify?  I approached the suggestion lightly, knowing full well that Dave would likely shoot me down.  But he didn’t!!  He agreed the day was worthy on the gift we were about to bestow on our oldest child.  He was worthy and ready for honor.

We opened three cans of Arturo sauce.

Yes, you read correctly.  We treated our son to spaghetti sauce. BUT, it is not just any spaghetti sauce.  It is The Original Sauce Arturo with mushrooms which my mother used to make the most delicious chicken cacciatore when I was a little girl.  Only one store in our area — the Pathmark near the synagogue — carried the brand.  Every few weeks, Dave would empty the shelves and bring home 10 or more cans – whatever was there.  We have stockpiled this sauce, rationing its usage to only a few cans every few months, never dipping below a 15 can minimum in our cupboard.

Until the Pathmark shut its doors a few weeks ago.  No more Path Mark.  No more Arturo Sauce… which made the gift of Arturo even that much more meaningful to Noah.  We ate in silence, savoring each bite and thanking the Universe for allowing Noah to reach the tender age of 13… and for the sauce.

Realizing the impending draught, last evening I searched for online purchasing options.  Most sites that carried Arturo were “out of stock”.  But Amazon had it listed by the case – and I ordered one.  I also put it on my birthday wish list.  With a new source established, we can all breathe a bit easier – and everyone has officially become Arturo-worthy.  Come by for dinner.  Anytime.

What is the secret ingredient you stockpile in your cupboard?  Or are we the only loony birds out there?
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