Long-time Celebrations member Mike Kalimon is an American patriot with a couple of Italian enthusiasms, wine and pasta. With an expansive, affectionate nature, a book of rules to guide him, and a penchant for quoting his beloved father, Mike is wiry and energetic to the point that his days seem to be 48 hours rather than the usual 24. Even though he owned a large construction business, he found time to develop other interests. He loves making wine, beer and pickles, cooking, ballroom dancing, and long trips on his Harley across as many state lines as time constraints permit. He could have turned any of these activities into businesses because that’s the way his mind works. He is creative and entrepreneurial to the core.
If Mike chose to make a business out of cooking, it was because his friends insisted. They could never get enough of what he served. It is also true that he has never been good with half measures. Whatever he does, he does on a large scale. The motorcycle trips are long. The wine piles up. And the pasta sauce with varying flavors outgrew the shelf space in his palatial home. From these beginnings, a pasta sauce-of-the-month business was born. The hobby that goes global is a familiar refrain yet probably mostly a dream rather than reality. But Mike established the business name, got the permits and licensing, and at first sold locally to restaurants, retailers, and events. Finally came the website, and the world became a saucier place as a result.
Mikes Home Made Foods (www.MikesHomeMadeFoods.com) is up and running with very low prices, considering the quality of ingredients, labor, and results. But he continues to call the activity a hobby. You’ll see various kinds of tomato sauces, including mushrooms and sausage or without. But that’s not all. Mike is making a lineup of classic American soups like beef, chicken, or turkey noodle, and split pea, and the Italian classic pasta fagioli.
When Mike sent me a quart of his marinara sauce, dense with chunky tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, I added olive oil and salt to create a particular Roman version, which Mike approved. You might find creative uses of your own for some of these sauces in addition to enhancing pasta, for example served at room temperature as an Italian relish for simply prepared meats. Without hesitation, I can say that Mike’s sauces are flavorful and fresh with wholesome, identifiable ingredients. You won’t find pasta sauces on your market shelf that measure up to his.