The Times West Virginian

July 27, 2011

A wonderful sauce

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — (Editor’s note: The “My Favorite Recipe” food for August is picnic salads. Send your favorite homemade recipes to Debbie Wilson at

There’s a first time for everything.

Including making hot dog sauce.

Laura Mileto has lived in Marion County for 10 years now. But, believe it or not, she’s never tasted, much less made, hot dog sauce.

Until now.

“I’m from New York, and honestly, none of my family even knew what hot dog sauce was,” she said.

(Folks in the Big Apple like to top their dogs with strange things like sauerkraut and relish.)

Using a recipe by her mother-in-law, Becky Mileto, she produced two batches of sauce in one day.

The recipe called for using 12 pounds of hamburger, which kind of took her by surprise. That’s a lot of meat.

So she cut back the amounts of all ingredients to a more manageable size.

Making the sauce was easier than she thought it would be.

“I thought it would be time-consuming, but it took probably only 20 minutes to make. You let it simmer for a few hours. I probably would make it again.”

“I made one pound and he ate most of it for lunch,” she said. “So I made another batch so we’d have some for tonight.”

Not bad for the first time.

“I got made fun of a lot for not eating hot dog sauce and for putting ketchup on my hot dogs,” she said, laughing.

“Now, my mom has a recipe, but it’s been about 20 years since she made it. Her mom’s family is from this area. She doesn’t use measurements, just ingredients.”

She cooks a lot for her little family of husband Jared and son Gabriel, much of it Italian cuisine.

“I make a lot of family recipes, things my Grandma would cook. She’s Italian. My mom’s maiden name is Provenzano.

“My family likes to eat anything ... and everything,” she said, laughing.

“We give everything a whirl at least once.”

Then there’s this one dish that every time she tries to make it, they lose either water or power.

“She had the stuff in the fridge and got it out to make it,” Jared said. “Guys were digging out front and hit a power line. And she’s just set it on the counter.

“But it is good.”

He likes to make chicken and Roman tomatoes, a recipe he got from TV.

“You brown chicken breast and crisp up prosciutto and put it with tomatoes, capers, tomato sauce and wine. You let it simmer for two hours. It cooks all the way through. It’s very good,” he said.

The Miletos like to make all kinds of food, from nifty cake pops to grilled anything.

“If you can make it on a grill, we’ll do it,” she said.

Gabe’s favorite food is basic macaroni sprinkled with Romano cheese on top.

She doesn’t like fish, but will eat shrimp “on a rare occasion,” she said. And she’ll make shrimp marinara on Jared’s birthday, their anniversary and Valentine’s Day.

His favorite is her meatballs and sauce, taken from her grandmother’s recipe.

“It’s an all-day event,” he said. “She’ll take meatballs and sausage and put them in a pot and it simmers all day long. I’ve learned you don’t take the lid off to stir it unless she says to.

“By far, it’s my favorite thing she makes, followed by chicken and wine sauce.

“And her hot dog sauce is wonderful, even if it is the first time she made it.”

If actions speak louder than words, consider this: He had five hot dogs for lunch and was working on his fourth for dinner, all topped with her sauce.

“As they say, Fairmont is the hot dog capital of the state,” he said with a grin.

Then came the big question. Did she like it?

“I liked it,” she said.

Now she’s a bona fide Marion Countian.

The contest for August is picnic salads. To be featured on the “My Favorite Recipe” page, contact Debbie Wilson at 304-367-2549 or at

Email Debra Minor Wilson at