Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A French Treat, with a Twist of Italian - and Lemon ; It Took Only Seconds to Discover That While the Recipe Title Didn't Look Familiar, the List of Ingredients Undoubtedly Did

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A French Treat, with a Twist of Italian - and Lemon ; It Took Only Seconds to Discover That While the Recipe Title Didn't Look Familiar, the List of Ingredients Undoubtedly Did

Article excerpt

Like many people who love to cook, I'm guilty of stockpiling recipes I've never used. "Someday," I tell myself, "I'll try that chocolate souffle or spend an afternoon stretching strudel dough."

To my surprise, one of my somedays finally arrived last month after a 30-year wait. As I read an article about how French women entertain, I noticed it featured a recipe for a yogurt cake glazed with marmalade. It sounded unlike any dessert I'd ever heard of, and so it immediately intrigued me.

The author described it as an utterly simple pound cake that was also good for breakfast.

Just reading the words "cake" and "breakfast" in the same sentence reminded me of an Italian cake recipe I'd saved for decades but never made. I read on, curious to learn more about this French treat. It took only seconds to discover that while the recipe title didn't look familiar, the ingredients undoubtedly did.

They brought to mind an Italian cake I had tasted at a neighbor's breakfast table during the 1970s. I had diligently scribbled down the recipe one morning as Rosa whipped up the lemon-flavored batter, relying on nothing more than her memory.

But I'd neglected to record the amount of flour, baking temperature, and amount of time it needed to bake. Since I could eat all the breakfast cake I wanted next door, I tucked away the recipe and forgot about the missing information.

Rosa eventually returned to Italy. I moved as well, taking her recipe along with me as I hung my pots and pans in kitchens from Boston to New York and South Carolina to Montana.

Although I never tried to make that cake, I didn't forget it.

Whenever I discovered a promising Italian cookbook, I'd leaf through the pages hoping to find something similar. The searches had always proved fruitless - up until now when I'd almost stopped trying to track it down.

As I began comparing my handwritten index card with the published recipe, I realized before I reached the end of my directions that this was the sweet-tart flavor of my past. …

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