Thicker Than Water

Scarpetta Pasta Sauce “Hmm… must be iron-enriched, tastes a little metallic…” was the joke my daughter sent with the accompanying photo. She spotted the jars of Scarpetta Pasta Sauce at a gourmet grocery store in Northern Virginia. The label did actually say, “if urgency persists, eat directly with spoon from jar after heating.”

I immediately wondered if the sauce was a product tie-in with Patricia Cornwell’s books. I asked my daughter to check the label for any reference to Cornwell or her main character, Kay Scarpetta. There were none. My daughter knew that Scarpetta was a medical examiner but didn’t realize that the character is also an expert cook, specializing in Italian food.

I learned on the Sauces ‘n Love website that the name of their product refers not to Kay but to licking the plate clean. A site called Under the Tuscan Gun explains it well. The translation of “fare la scarpetta” is “to do the little shoe.” In practice, it means to take a piece of bread and drag it through the sauce left on your plate.

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