The Namesake, a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. I read it when we were living in New York (2005). We had no kids back then, still I could feel the difficulties of raising a child in a country which is not your country, for as much as you love it. She, the novelist, is incredibly good in describing the struggles and hardships of a Bengali couple who immigrate to the United States to form a life outside of everything they are accustomed to, trying to put up with language and cultural barriers and ending up with a son who wants to be 100% American, not a Bengali – deepening the distance between him and his family, not only geographically but also, and above all, emotionally.
The Namesake won a place in my favorite books’ shelf.
It is when I read this book that I thought that, whenever my husband’s work would have taken us, I would have always tried as hard as possible to make my kids feel Italians. My dream was (wasn’t it?!) to have them to attend their secondary school in Rome. This is the only way to be a proper ‘Romano’ – no matter where you were born, raised or live after that.
And then one of the biggest financial and economic crisis in 30 years happened (2007). And then the global recession affects the entire world economy. And then the Italian economy shrinks for seven quarters in a row (2010/2011). And then the Italy’s parliamentary elections have ended in a stalemate and a protest movement led by a COMEDIAN won 25% (yesterday).
So now, no more plans for my kids to go back to Italy. Sadly enough. The only thing left (kind of) is my memory and the recipe that most of all reminds me of my childhood and my family is ‘il Salame del Re’, kind of a Swiss roll with Nutella inside. Yummy!
Salame del Re – Italian Roll
200 g egg
120 gr caster sugar
120 gr plain flour (if you have it, 30 gr of potato flour and 90 gr flour it would make it even softer)
20 gr melted butter
30 ml alchermes or rum
400 gr NUTELLA
Turn the oven on at 200°.
In a round bowl, on a Bain Marie, whisk the eggs and the sugar until nice and warm. Take off the heat and keep whisking until quite proud and fluffy. Sieve the flour (together with the potato flour, if using it) and fold it in with a spatula. Add the melted butter and fold everything together.
Pour the mixture onto a baking tray covered with parchment paper, 4mm thick.
Bake it for no more than 8/9 minutes, until light and springy to the touch.
Remove form the oven and turn the sponge out onto a dump tea towel.
Soften the Nutella on a Bain Marie.
Brush the sponge with the liqueur.
Spread the Nutella onto the sponge, leaving a small gap around the edges.
Roll the sponge over, using the tea towel.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.