Many Italian families in Long Island still make their own tomato sauce. Our friends do it once a year in a big blowout that starts at 7 a.m. and doesn't stop until the last tomato is boiled, mashed, salted, canned and boiled again (about 7 p.m.) by a labor force of Italians, Colombians, Ghanians, a midwesterner or two and occasional drop-ins by Paris Hilton wannabes.
All 40 bushels get a bath in the garage. Some tomatoes get sliced and jarred with basil. The majority go into four tubs in the back yard by the pool and are heated over propane burners until the skins burst. Then they are drained through old lace curtains and sent through two grinders where they are rendered into sauce. The skins go into the garden as compost.
This year no grocery store in town had enough jars, so we drank as much Coke and beer as we could so we could use the bottles.
In the end, we all get a reward for our day's work - a huge outdoor dinner featuring pasta with fresh sauce.