Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

These Italian fig cookies (aka cucidati) have become a favorite Christmas recipe at our house. Make a big batch and freeze some for a special treat later. ~~~ I love Italian cookies. My grandmother’s neighborhood in East Cambridge, Massachusetts had a fantastic Italian bakery, Royal Pastry Shop. Whenever we went to my grandparents, she would send …

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I can’t stop buying strawberries! They’re difficult to resist, especially when North Carolina strawberries are in the market. Plus, May is Strawberry Month in North Carolina so I must celebrate and support my local industry. My skin should be turning pink. I add strawberries to breakfast cereal, toast with ricotta cheese and frozen banana smoothies. …

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I hope you don’t mind my penchant for Japan stories. I’m sure you understand. A sake brewery representative went on YouTube this week to ask the Japanese people to support tsunami-affected breweries like his by buying their sake for the annual cherry blossom celebrations. Otherwise “secondary economic damage” could result if people heed the Tokyo …

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Gingerbread is the ideal counter cake. It sits on the counter and gets more and more delicious each day. Friends drop by during the holidays, you cut a few slices, and damn it’s good — intensely spiced, moist and tasty. It also goes really well with eggnog. This recipe was developed by Claudia Fleming when …

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