Perhaps because our grandfather and his brothers ran a pastry shop in Connecticut, after moving back to Boston I became addicted to North End cannolis. When growing up, Grandma taught us that any argument could be settled once people sat at the table, ate grandpa’s pastry, and drank her demitasse. Once in Boston, my children split on the best cannolis in the North End — Mike’s or Modern. But when it came time for a wedding, the opinion was universal. Instead of a wedding cake there would be cannolis layered in three-tier pastry servers for some 150 guests.
There was just one glitch. The wedding of my older son and his bride-to-be was in Portland, Maine. While Mike’s ships anywhere in the world — the shells and the filling come separately. As mother of the groom, was I going to spend my morning stuffing cannolis? Could we import the pastry chef? My nephew, Jude, came to the rescue. He said he would pick up boxes ordered from Mike’s and then go to Modern just so I could do a taste test. As such, his gift to the bride and groom was driving from the North End to Portland to make their wedding wish come true.
There was magic at that wedding just as in those afternoons with Grandma at the dining room table. Many a tearful love crisis was solved by sitting and talking and savoring the taste of delicately crunchy shells filled with a mixture of ricotta and heavy cream. In love and marriage, there will always be highs and lows. A secret to life-long love is in finding ways to savor sweet moments, create memories, and talk about the joys that the two of you share.
While Jeremy and Ruthy celebrate their 10th Anniversary this week, I will be sitting by the Greenway Fountains wishing them blessings — while indulging in cannolis from both Mike’s and Modern. And to my grandchildren, Connor and Clara, NonnaRi sends settemila baci per te!
Rita Esposito Watson writes Italian Kisses for the Providence Journal and “With Love and Gratitude” for PsychologyToday.com. She lives in Beacon Hill and spends her time between the North End and the Boston Athenaeum.