A couple of years back, her research took my sister-in-law to Italy for close to six months. A delightful time she had, taking every opportunity to explore the country on weekends and holidays, soaking in the sights and smells, savoring the heavenly food and making new friends.
She returned home with a potpourri of cheerful memories, of a gorgeous country, indescribably rich heritage dating back millennia, priceless art and stunning sculpture, Michaelangelos and daVincis, close-knit families and full-of-life people, passionate about football and religious about food.
But what was most appealing to me was a diary she came back with. Replete with scribbled notes. Every time she had had a delectable meal at a friend’s or colleague’s place, she had made it a point to request for the recipe. And had diligently jotted it down. To the last detail.
So here were I, grinning like a cheshire cat, with a diary full of nonna’s recipes, itching to try every single of them.
One of my favorite recipes from the diary is a Venetian carrot cake. Originated in the Jewish kitchens of Renaissance Venice. An olive-oil almond-meal cake with an overload of carrots and an extravagance of almond slivers. Delectable yet doesn’t haunt you with those wicked pangs of calorie guilt.