Another year, another chance?

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Times Square, NYC. The New Year’s ball is up there.

To do better? To make up for errors past? To turn your life into the coveted tabula rasa?

Valuable thoughts, but not happening. Over and over again, we flawed
mortals go on repeat more times that we wish to admit, because, damn it, we just don’t know what in bloody hell to do.

Oh the idealistic dreams that we launched into the embrace of the promising sky…and which boomeranged back soiled and broken and pathetic.

Resolutions are made to be stepped on, as the harshness of reality gains the reins, and we continue on the path of routine, duty, and our ‘quiet desperation’.

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Cassata napoletana

But we are resilient.

We delete our thoughts of loss and doom, slam the door in their face, reject the tears too painful to be shed, and move on to the basics, boring, comforting, numbing.

Hail to the kitchen where magic happens daily! Pull out that flour and eggs and spices and wine! Labor, create, allow the music to energize your faltering soul.

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Struffoli

I love the holidays, when everything glitters, even broken hearts.

Lost in the past that will forever haunt us, become young again, a child perhaps, see Christmas, New Year’s, the Epiphany, as you saw them then, when the world was wondrous.

I breathe in the scents of almond paste, cinnamon, honey, as my hands swiftly shape pastries and cookies, turn humble ingredients into little masterpieces to brighten our souls, albeit temporarily.

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Meringues

Revel in the joys of food memories, re-live them as you work your way to the place that doesn’t hurt.

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Assorted cookies, including Neapolitan Mostaccioli

Here they are, my friends, my sweet labors of love, rich, aromatic Cassata, possibly my favorite dessert of all, my true dream of sugarplums; the Struffoli that mean Christmas, a necessary presence on this day of glory. Hundreds of cookies, spiced, subtle, chocolaty and not.   Mostaccioli, adored cookies of my Italian childhood, thick and spiced with the flavors of Southern Italy, luxuriously glazed in bittersweet chocolate.

God bless the holidays, the kitchen, the flavors of our temps perdu.

Happy New Year, dear friends!

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