Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't Forget the Love

Born in Chicago, IL in 1960 and although I could call myself a Gen-Xer, I consider myself a baby boomer since my parents were of the Great Depression/WWII era.   I left Chicago in 1979 amidst the snowstorm of the century to California with $7 in my pocket to move to California where it was 70 degrees and far more liberal.  I never regretted leaving.  My only heartache was to leave my momma. 

But there was always the telephone. Almost daily I would call for advise, a recipe, or just a loving chat.  Decades of phone visits and trips bridged the gap.   That all changed when she had to be permanently placed in a nursing home.  She thrived there for a while, and was even a ringleader in the"wheelchair brigade".  A favorite of staff because of her sweet personality and easygoing nature, she enjoyed life for a time.  But Father Time kept ticking away and she began to slip away from us.  A combination of old age and the pain medication for arthritis, she began to tell wild stories that would make you blush if they weren’t so comical.
I believe it was at that point I lost my mother.  At my most recent visit, in the fall of 2010, she was there but in some imaginary place somewhere between this place and the next.  Luckily, the family was able to obtain hospice care for her.  No telling what day will be her last, what moment she will be set-free of the frozen joints and mind confusion and her spirit will be set free.

My mom was a great cook and baker.  Ask any of my high school friends about Mama DeVita’s pizza!  One of the family's favorite recipes is for almond coffee cake.  I share it her to honor her and to connect back to her.    Although she shared this recipe to many over the years, but no one came close to making as well as she.  I believe the secret ingredient was her love. 

Blanche DeVita’s Recipe for:
Almond Coffee Cake
From the kitchen of Michelle DeVita Fong
2 cups sifted flour
½ tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
½ cup butter (room temperature)
1 pks dry yeast
½ cup warm water
¼ cup cold milk
1 egg (cold)
1 can Solo almond filling
xxx sugar and a little milk for glaze
slivered toasted almonds



1. Sift flour, cut in butter
2. Dissolve yeast in warm water w/sugar until it bubbles a little
3. In a separate dish slightly beat egg and milk
4. Add to yeast and egg mixture
5. Mix just enough to make a nice ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.


1. Take out of refrigerator, use a generous amount of flour and roll into an oblong shape.
2. Spoon Solo Almond filling in the middle. Roll or braid the sides to make coffee cake shape.
3. Place carefully on cookie sheet
4. Let rise about 1 hour in a warm space


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Bake until golden brown approximately 20 minutes
3. Remove from oven and put on wire rack


1. Mix xxx sugar and milk
2. Drip shoestring glaze with fork
3. Top with sliced toasted almonds

(Don't forget the love). Enjoy

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