With Marcella #55, #56 & #57 (of 466)

At my table, we ate two tablespoons of fennel seeds. That’s right. Two. Tablespoons.

There were six of us at the table. So we shared the two tablespoons between us.

The fennel seeds had also been mixed into a cake before it was baked. So all in all it wasn’t quite as grim as it sounds.

Still! Two tablespoons!

This was yet another occasion where I had to trust Marcella’s good judgement. I did read the list of ingredients a few times, just to check that it wasn’t actually teaspoons that were required…

Marcella was right, of course. It worked beautifully. A shortcake made of polenta, a little flour, an egg, a little sugar, some dried figs, raisins and pinenuts. Even as I cut and served the cake to my guests, I only cut small pieces in case it was awful and I made it clear that they were under no obligation to eat it.

After each of us took our first bite, there was silence as we adjusted to the unusual licorice flavouring. Then we embraced the cake (digestively speaking!) and grew to love it with each new bite. We all chose to have seconds!

At my table that night, there were a variety of nationalities – Moldovan, American, German, Australian – all foreigners living in a land not our own. Each of my guests were all new to our church and so I had invited them to get to know each other – and for me to know them better.

It was a mixture like the mixture of ingredients in the cake we shared for dessert – and it worked just as beautifully!

We experienced some of the comfort and joy that come from being part of God’s family, having left our extended families in other places. All this with another nationality represented in the Italian food we ate that night!

Two nights ago: #55 ‘Pot Roast of Beef Braised in Red Wine’, #56 ‘Sauteed Early Peas with Olive Oil and Prosciutto, Florentine Style’ and #57 ‘Polenta Shortcake with Raisins, Dried Figs and Pine Nuts’ with Alex, Emma, John, Emily and Erika at my table.


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