With heirloom recipes and old-world flavor, ’tis the season for nostalgia

  • By Sue Ade
  • Tuesday, December 1, 2015 4:27pm
  • LifeFood

One Christmas, I sent a loved one a box of Italian Egg Biscuits, made from an old recipe that belonged to a long-departed friend of the family, Mrs. Concetta Gallo. My uncle knew what was in the package before he even opened it. Although the element of surprise was lost, the familiar old-world anise scent that foreshadowed the gift found its purpose, and the season for nostalgia was off and running.

While there are many things that trigger a sentimental longing for Christmases past, the aromas that once floated from the holiday kitchens of our most beloved bakers, especially those that are gone, are among the most powerful. With its strong “licorice” flavor, an identifiable component of distinctive liqueurs such as, Anisette, Ouzo, Pernod and others, the taste of anise is a favorite of many, as is other festive treats that contain it, such as pizzelles and cannolis.

Typically, most recipes for anise-flavored cookies and other sweets specify the use of alcohol-based anise extract. But, for a bright and pure anise taste, highly concentrated anise oil is far more effective and in the long run, economical. Because the oil is three to four times stronger than extract, you’ll need just a quarter teaspoon of oil for every teaspoon of extract.

Missing those that are no longer with us is particularly hard this time of the year. If they’ve left behind a beloved heirloom recipe, bring it to life in the kitchen. Share it at the table with those you love and enjoy it for the gift it is.


Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

More in Life

When Takotna resident Alec MacDonald registered in February 1942 for the military draft, he falsely claimed to have been born in 1900 in Chautauqua County, Kansas.
The Separate Lives of the Man Who Fell — Part 1

Even now, with much more of the truth laid bare, mysteries remain

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of H Warren’s “Binded” is held in the Peninsula Clarion building on Thursday.
Off the Shelf: Political resistance bound to the personal

“Binded,” a new poetry anthology by Alaska author, confronts nonbinary, rural existence

“A Thousand Cabbages and other poems” by Mary Mullen. Published by Hardscratch Press, 2023. (Promotional photo)
Taking a wider view

‘A Thousand Cabbages and other poems’ sweeps across time and distance in Mullen’s second outing

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: The spring emergence of Willie

He grudgingly skulks out of hibernation only when the sun has decisively conquered the last drifts of winter

Minister’s Message: Don’t give up on life

No doubt, life has its difficulties

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, August 5, 2022 for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Blues, brass, Cajun and local acts to perform at ‘eclectic’ Ninilchik festival

Salmonfest headliners include Old Crow Medicine Show, Sierra Ferrell, Leftover Salmon, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Jackie Venson, The Burroughs and the High Hawks

A painting by Charlotte Coots is part of “Making Her Mark,” the June show at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Women artists dive below the surface in new Kenai art show

“Making Her Mark” features the work of Charlotte Coots, Abbey Ulen and Shannon Olds.

Oatmeal raisin cookies to celebrate a one-year anniversay. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Homemade cookies to celebrate a forever home

Homey oatmeal raisin cookies mark one year ‘happily ever after’

Most Read