Posted by St Michael's College, Adelaide
on 6 March 2019
Since 2016 our Sustainability Officer and her father, Nick Mercurio (who is an old scholar from the Class of 1968) have brought the Italian tradition of making sauce to St Michael's College Primary Campus, we call the annual event 'De La Sauce Day'. The boys all have jobs to do on the day and work together to make the sauce. Not only does this day bring back an important cultural tradition, it teaches students at St Michael's to learn safe and hygienic work practices in the kitchen, while the older students explore the mathematics behind the production. It also launches the kitchen garden cooking program each year.
I've been making sauce since I was a child. It's an Italian tradition which we brought to Adelaide from my birth place, San Giorgio La Molara. When I was a child we made our own sauce, wine, prosciutto and sausages in our old packing shed on our celery farm.
We would grow our own roma tomatoes, especially for sauce making, and every February the family would come together for the big cooking day.
We all had jobs, just like you do chief bottle washer, chief selector of tomatoes, chief cooker of tomatoes, chief separator of tomatoes from the skin, chief inserter of the basil into the bottles, chief salt dispenser, chief bottle sealer and chief placer into the cauldron. The head of the production line was always my mum Bisnonna. We did this for many years with my cousins and later with my own kids (yes your parents). It is a day where we all come together, work, sing songs, eat and remember our heritage.
Since February 2016 we have brought the tradition alive at St Michael's College. Lachlan Hoy, one of our Youth Environmental Leaders, penned the name 'De La Sauce', which began the annual event. Every year since we coincide the day with Shrove Tuesday and it has turned out to be a wonderful time to get together and live, breathe and most importantly 'taste' one of our wonderful Italian traditions! Not only does this day bring back an important cultural tradition, it teaches students at St Michael's to learn safe and hygienic work practices in the kitchen, while the older students explore the mathematics behind the production. It also launches our kitchen garden cooking program each year.
Why start this tradition at St Michael's?
I too went to St Michael's from 10 years of age graduating in 1968. My son and nephews went there and now you and your cousins. I have so many wonderful memories of my time at school so when your mum asked me for advice on the sauce making process I readily volunteered to make it happen. I am so happy that I have been able to reconnect and give back to our strong school community to keep this Italian tradition alive!
I hope that De La Sauce Day will be a tradition that you will continue for many years to come.