Dear Diary,

As soon as the Mayor’s wife left, I double checked my “To do list.”  The bakery’s barista, Cleopatra (not her real name), had the day off; so I had to “fire up” the coffee machine myself.  I have not established a good working relationship with the coffee machine.  I’ve found the machine to be temperamental…  Also, it responds solely to verbal commands made in Italian.  A few years ago, my boss hired an elderly woman, Mrs. Palermo, to tutor me in Italian.  Unfortunately, the machine deemed Mrs. Palermo’s Sicilian dialect “irriconoscibile.”  Hence the hiring of “Cleopatra.”  My boss loves that coffee machine, and consequently (she loves) anyone who can operate it properly.  I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve heard “Cleopatra’s” coffee is perfetto.  I have however used it to make coffee flavored gelato…

Next task on my “To do list”: come up with a new theme for my boss’s niece’s baby shower.  Apparently, the niece was offended by my original theme: “Fat, pink and pretty!”  I wanted to make all kinds of cute, fat pink desserts in honor of her new rotund shape and size.  It was a good idea!  As an example, I made snowball shaped cakes covered with pink hydrangea flowers.  Even though the hydrangea flowers were made entirely of sugar, the niece found my use of hydrangea sugar flowers offensive because hydrangea (if eaten) is a poisonous plant which induces vomiting and all sorts of gastrointestinal discomfort.

The last item on my “To do list” was: make Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake.  My boss spent her childhood in Morrocco and wanted something delicious from her past added to the bakery’s repertoire.  By 11:30 am, the cake was baked and cooling on a wire rack.  Incidentally, I had prepared the oranges the night before.  Since I had a little extra time on my hands; I went outside to cut fresh flowers for the front window.  The bakery was well stocked and ready for my boss’s return by 12:00 pm.


“Orange And Almond Cake” recipe from Claudia Roden’s book, The New Book Of Middle Eastern Food
Google: “Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake by Moira Hodgson”