A fellow Italian friend of mine who ~we’ll call "Mary"~ and myself are having quite the debate with a certain topic. All my life, my grandmother would ‘make gravy’ on Sundays—which meant, she was making macaroni and whatever meat she has prepared for us. We typically ate dinner at 2:00pm on a Sunday afternoon, the family would gather around and we would be full till the next day.
Even to this day, my mother will say, “I’m making gravy on Sunday.” We still have the same drill, the family all comes over to mom’s house and we all have a nice dinner, even though it’s called ‘gravy’. My friend Mary laughed at me and said, “Ha-ha-ha-ha, it is not gravy! It is sauce!---And you call yourself Italian???” I was surprised, with her nationality being 100% Italian, I explained why we called it gravy and she laughed even harder.
Years ago, when the Italian immigrants first came over to Ellis Island to settle in, in their language, gravy OR sauce is called, “salsa”---which means a thick, meat-based sauce OR gravy. Once translated in English, they wanted people to know that the “sauce” had meat in it—therefore calling it “gravy”… They continued using this term and it’s what we know, and what we’re comfortable with.
Suggestion: Don’t ever argue with an old Italian mama who feeds you every Sunday, you might end up eating at McDonald’s for dinner--or worse case scenerio, receive a black rose.