Lately E’s been doing a lot of research on one of the countries that she descends from. (Can you descend from a country? Country of origin is what I mean.) She comes from a long list of native countries – as most of us do – but she had to pick one, and I convinced her to choose Italy (my personal favorite) over a nice red wine, some homemade pasta and cappuccino. Not entirely true. I think she just figured since I had lived there for awhile I’d be a good first source (easy source).
Today – before the snow kept us in – she was to present her country in a mock travel agency along with the other members of her class, attempting to “sell” a trip to her home country based on the features and highlights of the place. She could bring in any manner of things to woo her potential customers, and biscotti was the one treat that seemed easy enough to share with other seven and eight year olds. They frown a bit on red wine or espresso machines in the classroom. So last night, as the snow started to blow, we got the ingredients out to make chocolate biscotti. And then I discovered the missing ingredient – something this household is never without. Baking powder. My mind flashed back to the lemon pound cakes, and the endless tablespoons I dipped out of that container. Tears flowed. Wailing ensued. Her agency was destroyed, and no matter what dried pasta or breadsticks I procured from the pantry, nothing else was going to do it. It was biscotti, or die trying.
The happy ending came in the form of a chance phone call to the organist at our church – who conveniently lives around the corner, and even more conveniently was stepping out to the market to pick up a few things pre-storm. She had baking powder, which she dropped off to me on the corner, with a grateful, tear-streaked girl waving from the window. Biscotti was made, biscotti was tried, biscotti was packaged and ready to go.
And then it snowed, and we didn’t need it after all.
The good thing about chocolate biscotti? It keeps for awhile, so it will be just fine tomorrow, served from a bowl I purchased fourteen years ago in Assisi and brought home for my grandparents. And while the biscotti cooked, she studied that breadstick package and determined that it would work just fine – seeing that it had the Italian flag on it, and everything. Of course. Biscotti and breadsticks, and thankfully, no more tears.