The Fig Tree, the Cardinal and a Fig and Honey Clafoutis Recipe

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


My father had the most magnificent fig tree in his yard.  It was about twenty-five feet tall and the breadth of its branches was almost as wide.  Though he would never actually confirm it, the rumor is that he bred the tree using cuttings smuggled here from a bigger and even more magnificent fig tree that sits on the grounds of his ancestral home in Italy.  I have seen that original tree with my own eyes, and eaten its fruit.  It is amazing!

Dad’s fig tree was the jewel in his garden.  He babied and fussed over it.  He nurtured it through winters that were too cold and summers that were too hot.  That tree was the Goldilocks of fig trees.  Everything about it was just right, including the lush, moist fruit that grew from it.  Dad’s figs were almost the size of small fists!  Ripened by the sun, their flesh was so sweet that droplets of dew-like nectar oozed freely from them.   There was nothing – and, I mean nothing, people – that could rival the taste of my father’s figs.

Almost five years ago, on a grey November day, cancer stole my father away.  Within two weeks, the fig tree dropped all of its leaves, shriveled up and died.  I kid you not.  It was like the tree was in mourning and died of a broken heart. The only sign of life that has come from that tree since is the occasional appearance of a gorgeous, crimson cardinal, who swoops in from time to time and perches itself on a bare, brittle branch.   The bird just sits there, calmly looks around for a minute or two, and then flies off again.

None of us has the heart to chop down the fig tree.  Dad loved that tree, and to do so would almost be like losing him all over again.  So it still stands in its place beside the house as a bittersweet reminder of what once was.


more of what\'s cooking...

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

Monday, August 22, 201132 Comments

When Ruth Graves Wakefield mixed bits of semi-sweet chocolate into a vat of cookie dough back in the 1930’s, she unwittingly created what is arguably the most popular recipe of all time – the chocolate chip cookie.  By some accounts, it was an accident.  Others claim that Wakefield intentionally …

Whole Grain Krispie Granola Bars Recipe

Tuesday, August 16, 201139 Comments

In just a few short days the kids will be heading back to school, and parents everywhere will be breathing a collective sigh of relief. Summer vacation can be tough on us moms and dads! Sure, it was great not having to get up at the brink of dawn …

Anytime Egg, Ham and Cheese Strata Recipe

Wednesday, August 10, 201113 Comments

My family is not very big on breakfast.  We love breakfast foods.  We just don’t like getting up in the morning any earlier than we have to.  Yeah, I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blah, blah, blah.  And, we usually do eat some …

Not Your Mamas English Muffin Pizza

Wednesday, August 3, 201126 Comments

Remember eating English muffin pizzas as a kid? I do. My mom used to make them for us all the time. She’d take a few muffins, slather on some marinara sauce (homemade, of course) and top it with whatever kind of cheese she happened to have in the fridge.  …

And, the Keurig Giveaway Winner is –

Monday, August 1, 201118 Comments

Your hubby will be happy to learn that he is now off the hook!  I’ll be in touch soon to get your mailing address, so that Keurig can sent you your very own Platinum Home Brewing System.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway.  I …

kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

Just Browsing?
55 Knives
follow me!

    Follow Me on Pinterest

    Friday Food Lust

    Fine Cooking