Sauce vs. Gravy
CEO & Founder of Hardcore Italians
"Its gravy!" "No, it's sauce!!" ... Every Italian has heard or been involved in this argument at one point in their lives. There is always a strong opinion about it and the argument is never ending.
Growing up, my family always called it gravy. My grandparents immigrated from Calabria Italy many years ago and this is the term they always used. However, I know of other Italians who immigrated to countries such as Canada, United States, and Australia, who grew up calling it sauce.
In film, Tony Soprano would tell you gravy and Henry Hill would tell you sauce...
So who is right? Is it sauce or gravy? Why is it that Italians can never agree?
Arguments for Sauce
Arguments for Gravy
Many also argue that geographical location plays a role in what you call it. It is rumored that Northern Italians call it sauce while Southern Italians call it gravy. People also argue that Americans in places like Philly, New Jersey, and Boston call it gravy while others do not.
Color may also play a role in determining the choice of the topping. Anthony Russo, owner of Gargiulo's in Coney Island, commented, "If it is red, its sauce. Gravy I always thought of as a brown sauce."
Other Italians such as Joe Cosenza, a manager Michael's of Brooklyn in Sheepshead Bay, states, "Traditionally, gravy has meat in it."
So does location, color, and ingredients determine the proper name?
There is no right or wrong answer. There are compelling arguments to either side of the spectrum. If you want to stay out of an argument, just call it sugo :)
However, it does not make anyone less of an Italian by the preference in name. All that matters is that it is home cooked every Sunday and not from out of a jar!
Picture from OldWorldGardenFarms
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