BioTube wrote:Marinara sauce is a topping for bread sticks, not an entree.
Maybe at Pizza Hut or the End Zone Bar and Grill.
No, marinara is a simple tomato sauce that's used for pasta, a form of bruschetta, etc.
In the US, the use of the term "tomato sauce" depends on the context. Everyday usage most often refers to canned, pureed tomatoes with minimal other ingredients used as a base for making anything "tomatoey" (pasta sauces, some types of chili, etc.). For a different texture, canned crushed tomatoes are available. As a thickener or to add flavor without adding liquid, tomato paste is used. When I make "homemade" spaghetti sauce, I use a combination of canned sauce, paste and blanched and peeled fresh Roma tomatoes. The rest of the ingredients are secret. The mixture is cooked until I can't stand waiting any more.
In a restaurant, tomato sauce is often synonymous with marinara. I've often heard Italian-Americans refer to this (as well as other tomato-based pasta sauces) as "gravy". This really raises my eyebrows, since to me gravy is a starch and stock (or other liquid). My mother made red-eye gravy: pan fry ham steaks, set aside, in the pan using the drippings (ham fat and juices), add flour and stir while cooking to make a light-to-medium roux, thin with brewed coffee. Serve over the ham steaks with homemade biscuits (if you don't know what American biscuits are, I feel really bad for you, they're somewhat, but not at all, like scones). But I digress.
If you order spaghetti and expect ground beef in it, the menu will often say "meat sauce", but it's what people usually mean if they say "spaghetti sauce" without qualification.
- "Honey, go to the supermarket and get me some tomato sauce." - you should bring home a can that I described above
- "Dear, pick up a jar of spaghetti sauce on your way home." - you'd better ask. There are as many varieties of jarred sauce as breakfast cereals
- "Sweetheart, stop by Antonio's and bring us a couple of orders of angel hair and tomato sauce." - she means marinara
- "Baby, I'm cooking spaghetti tonight" - you should hurry home!
So, to answer an earlier question, it's all about context - both of the situation and of the qualifiers in the conversation.