Re: "Biscotti: A Friend's Tradition Kept Alive" in Food & Flavor, Dec. 27: As always, Gretchen McKay, your special way of looking at the world (and food!) has touched me. I have a "friendship garden" with plants given to me over the years. During many moves (not usually happy ones), I have dug up and dragged my plants with me. The first thing I ask a prospective landlord is, "May I put in a small garden?" Through some of the toughest times of my life, my plants and flowers have been there to comfort me.
Your lovely piece came at a good time for me -- this time of year can be tough. Oh, I remember helping my Italian grandmother bake her biscotti. I do not bake that much any more but I am going to the Giant Eagle today and bake me some biscotti!
How blessed you are to have had such a dazzling friend.
Loved the article about Italian Christmas Eve ["Philomena's Italian Christmas Eve" by Rosemarie Perla, Food & Flavor, Dec. 20].
My late father-in-law would make a nut sauce served over pasta on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, no one has his recipe. It was a red sauce, and we think maybe the nuts were hazelnuts.
Have you possibly heard of this type of sauce? We have been searching recipes for years.
My father-in-law also made stuffed artichokes with meat, and used pine nuts in his kibbee.
I don't usually cook from recipes -- I usually just cook -- but after reading Rosemarie Perla's heartwarming story, my boyfriend, Mark Willoughby, and I were inspired to give her Grandmother Philomena's Christmas Eve Pasta recipe a try. While there was quite a bit of prep work chopping and browning, once we got rolling the meal was done in a half-hour, and I'm glad we weren't afraid to use the anchovies. The mulled base of olive oil, garlic and anchovies gave the sauce a subtle tone that made it delicious. With a salad, it was a perfectly balanced meal, and we both had seconds!
I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed reading "Hardtack is a tradition for this family" by Kathleen Ganster [Food & Flavor, Dec. 13]. The article evoked fond memories of my parents. They both loved hardtack and enjoyed the Christmas season because of their purchase of the candy at Horne's or Gimbels.
Thanks for the memories.
Can you tell me where I may purchase Lorann Flavoring? Just in case I decide to make the candy!
Kathleen Ganster reports that her family bought the flavorings at Make A Cake in Ross.food
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