Sunday, July 3, 2011

Simple words, simple food

Indulgent readers will recall last year's summer vacation, which involved France, my dear old Person and me, the Tour de France, and oh, right: our TV. It's that time again, my dears, for early July brings the high American holiday of Independence Day, and also heralds the beginning of the Tour de France. This will mean occasional mention of my TV boyfriend, Fabian Cancellara, rather a lot of eye-rolling from my very kind dear old Person, an embarrassing number of hours logged by the DVR, and perhaps a few photos. New this year - and you'll be thankful to know this - is the role of Twitter in the 3-week long summer interlude. Twitter might mean less Tour conversation at Eat Here, but of course I'll keep you posted if anything big happens. (I know, I know.)

In the meantime, a very Happy Fourth of July to all. I do hope everyone has a lovely time with friends and family, dogs and burgers, and for those of you who've had enough rain to make them possible, bright fireworks bursting against your starlit skies. Whatever you're cooking, here's an idea for dessert, so fine that I thought it warranted more than one photo.
This was shared with just a few of our dearest friends yesterday evening, as we gathered to begin planning an upcoming family event. I've often spoken here about the gift of the friendship of women as one of the central blessings of my life, and I wrapped myself in its richness yesterday for some long, sweet hours. When small groupings of our circle form we miss the whole, feeling the gaps left by each unique pair of hands. But we're always happy to savor the presence of those of who have gathered; this was one of those afternoons. For those of my sisters whose presence I missed: fear not. There are a million favors to be asked in months to come, and millions of blessings, large and small, to rain down on us. For you who shared the afternoon with us, I have no eloquent words, only ones that have served us since the beginning of time, offered with a full heart: Thank you. I love you.

Just as plain words are sometimes the only ones perfectly suited to the moment, despite how rounded down and smoothed they've become with use, so is plain food often most perfect. So here's what we had for dessert.

It started with a pound cake I made a couple of days ago. You can use any pound cake you like, or come to that, any cake at all. This one is an old-fashioned cake, in which the eggs are separated, the whites whipped with sugar to soft peaks, then folded into the batter. It makes a taller, lighter cake with an especially delicious crust. But whatever cake you prefer or have on hand will serve nicely. Berries are abundant and cheap right now, so we had were strawberries and raspberries. A cup of cream, whipped quickly with a touch of confectioners sugar makes magic. Top with sliced almonds, toasted to bring out their flavor and add a golden touch. It's the simplest thing in the world, isn't it? It will make palates sing with the simple goodness of the flavors, and the memories sing whenever they're brought to mind. These are the rituals by which we are bound together, my dears. Bring on the fireworks. Happy Independence Day. And vive la France!


  1. I had real strawberry shortcake, on the 4th, for the first time in a couple of years. What a treat!

  2. Please let me know when you come back to writing. I miss you.


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