It isn't just the comparison of the two families that had me thinking of the photograph (although it is so interesting), nor is it the old nostalgia of the 60 year old picture. The most amazing thing about the photograph; especially in the wake of her life; is the fresh newness of the young bride. I can only imagine that like I once did, all she could probably think of on the night before her wedding was the actual wedding - becoming a wife, walking down the aisle, her dress, her guests, the cake and the flowers. She most assuredly wasn't thinking too far past the next day and what her distant future would hold. At no point during that photographed dinner could she ever have perceived the life she had ahead of her. How could she have known that she would live to be 86 years old, that she would have outlived her groom by only 5 months after almost 70 years of marriage? Sure it is every new bride's wish, but so many aren't that lucky. She had no certainty during that dinner that she would have children with her future husband. Six to be exact - 5 daughters and one son, my father. She could never imagine that she would painfully have to bury two of her beloved children before her own passing. How could she have know that she would have 12 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren? How was the young bride to predict that she would live to see two devastating Hurricanes ravage the city of New Orleans? She lived in the affected areas for both Betsy and Katrina and survived to tell about both destructive storms that hit 40 years apart. During that dinner, on the night before her wedding she couldn't have conceptualized any of the many adventures her life had in store for her.
I love that photograph. I had never seen it before last year and I am extremely happy that it found its way into my family. It represents so much to me. It is about foundation. At the time that is was taken, I am sure it was nothing more than a mere family photo. The bride, the groom and their parents - every wedding weekend contains hundreds of photos of the same makeup. But when I look at that photo I always feel a special tug at what it embodies. The start of so much for the young bride. The beginning of a life, of a family - of my family. The perfect pairing of the beautiful young Italian bride and her handsome youthful French groom.
I looked for a recipe that I felt was the perfect marriage of French and Italian ingredients to celebrate the marriage of my French and Italian grandparents and my grandmother's long and happy life. I thought these traditional French pastries flavored with typical Italian ingredients was the perfect recipe for the celebration.
Rosemary and Parmesan Madeleines
Adapted from William Sonoma
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup cake flour
- 3 tsp. finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. fleur de sel, plus more for sprinkling*
- 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 4 eggs
- 1⁄4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus
more for sprinkling
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
Brush the molds of two 12-well madeleine pans with 2 Tbs. of the butter.
Sift the cake flour into a bowl
and gently stir in the rosemary, the 1 tsp. fleur de sel
and the pepper. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high speed until yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cream of tartar
and beat until the mixture drops from the whisk in ribbons, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture being careful to not deflate the egg mixture
and the 1 cup cheese,
then fold in the remaining 6 Tbs. butter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared molds so the batter is even with the rims.
Bake until the madeleines spring back when pressed lightly, about 12 minutes. Immediately remove them from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de sel and cheese and serve. Makes 18 madeleines.