Over the years I've noticed that there is a strange orthodoxy surrounding the "proper" way of making marinara and I was having a friendly debate at work with a fellow who adds carrots and celery to his sauce, and also cooks it for a much shorter time than I do. I know marinara is simple and not particularly fashionable at the moment, but as person of Neapolitan descent, my earliest culinary memories involve canning tomatoes and making sauce with my grandmother. Marinara, to me, symbolizes a really simple kind of cuisine which is comforting to me the same way a good chicken soup or Boeuf Bourguignon does for other people. I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on cooking time (there seems to be a divide between folks who cook it for one hour and folks who cook it for four), and what herbs can be added. I'm also curious where these rigid ideas of the "right" way to cook marinara and other Italian foods come from. In my experience, Italian recipes vary wildly by region and family tradition, and haven't been set in stone the same way French cuisine was by Escoffier. I was taught to use tomatoes which were grown at home, stewed and canned in the summer, peeled and seeded obviously. We made most of our marinara in huge batches in the winter and then canned or froze it for the rest of the year. We used onions and garlic, then added basil and a few bay leaves. We also sometimes used small amounts of oregano and parsley, though as a professional I've found this to be very controversial. I recall my grandmother, on occasion, sweating salt pork or bacon along with the onions, but usually only when it was intended for the base of a bolognese. Maybe this is a little too much thought going into such a simple thing, but I like to think the simple things are sometimes the most important I'd be curious to know what everyone else thinks.