Cool Cream for Snowy Days

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett

Our latest snow settled Friday night over the icy remnants of the last storm, a rare sight for North Carolina’s Piedmont. This round gave us a perfect winter wonderland combination, with snow-crusted treelimbs but streets that were just delicately wet.

I’d been prepared to be snowed in again, so my only disappointment here was losing my stuck-inside excuse to bake. For several days, I’d been craving just one treat: a classic 1970s blueberry torte.

I hadn’t thought of this dessert in quite a while, but a glance in the mirror at my gaunt face reminded me. The one advantage to pneumonia has been a bit of weight loss; the disadvantage, of course, is where that weight came from. The old phrase “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” holds sadly true.

The last time I lost this much weight from illness was in eighth grade, when I most exquisitely timed an attack of appendicitis: the night before finals started. Five days later, I was back home, my face a stark 10 pounds skinnier but my spirit joyous from having gotten out of taking any exams. Knowing I was starving after fending off rubbery hospital gelatin concoctions and salty broths, my parents set me up on the couch in the living room, and my mother brought me a torte.

How can you go wrong with cream cheese, whipped cream and blueberries, plus a few graham crackers for crunch? It certainly put those 10 pounds right back … which may be why it’s a good thing I lost my snowed-in baking excuse this weekend.

I hadn’t told the children I was thinking of making the torte, so they didn’t know what they were missing. I’m always happy to make special treats, as long as we follow the moderation in all things rule, but after a weekend of Valentine’s cupcake parties, we’d moved way past moderation. As soon as I can find another excuse, though, I’m going for it. This simple torte, served with such love and concern by my mother, has remained one of my sweeter memories, definitely deserving an introduction to another generation.

Recipe: 1970s Blueberry Torte

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