What is sacrifice? I am not talking about the ritual sacrifice of biblical proportions – killing animals or people for the pleasure of a god or, for example, King Kong – but personal sacrifice. What is it to you?

Doreen is here with me for the weekend – the first time we have seen one another since Cocoa and Lavender was a dream, followed by a plan, and then a reality. It is wonderful to see her, and we have been having so much fun these past few days going on food-shopping adventures, attending a book-signing with author Kate Payne (an alumna of The Honors College where I work), making a comforting Malaysian chicken curry to eat fireside, and dining out at our favorite restaurant, Tavolino, with friends, where we had a wonderful Italian meal.

Back to the topic… Doreen is here in Tucson during a time of sacrifice for her. Lent. When I was young, Lent meant giving up something for the 40 days and nights – a luxury you would really miss if it were gone – in observance of the 40 days and nights Christ spent in the desert prior to the beginning of his public ministry, where he was tempted daily by Satan. As kids, we always gave up candy but, for some reason, we had Sundays “off” – we could have all the candy we gave up Monday through Saturday. In retrospect, it was just a sign of our incredible weakness – seriously, we couldn’t give up candy for a mere 6 weeks? (I still can’t…) Doreen, much stronger than I, is foregoing meat and chocolate until Easter, when I am sure she will have lamb. No lamb-and-chocolate binges for her on Sundays during Lent, though!

Personal sacrifice can show up in other ways in our lives, too. Saying sad goodbyes to friends as they move to another part of the country, volunteering time for causes that are close to our hearts, or the small sacrifice of giving money to those in need when we have so much ourselves.

Doreen and I are making also a mutual sacrifice at this time. She will be leaving Cocoa and Lavender as of this post for personal reasons, and reasons that I support wholly with my heart. My part in this sacrifice is letting her go as graciously as I can, though I will miss her terribly. This will not – cannot – change our friendship especially as Cocoa and Lavender was her inspired idea - her brainchild. I know I will always feel that she is here with me, and she knows that she is always welcome back. I also hope she will do guest posts from the Seacoast from time to time.

Today we made gluten-free Sicilian almond macaroons based on a Martha Stewart recipe. We chose these over other desserts because someone coming to dinner this evening (an appetizer dinner while we watch a silly movie) cannot tolerate gluten. While Doreen, Mark and I love gluten-filled foods, it is a small sacrifice to make when dining with people we love.

~ David

Almond Macaroons

4 ounces almond paste
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
Pinch of coarse salt
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Grate almond paste using the large holes of a box grater. Put almond paste, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until crumbly, about 3 minutes. Add egg white and vanilla. Mix until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes.

Using a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch top, pipe batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, lightly dust cookies with confectioner’s sugar.

Makes 12 cookies
  • To make pignoli cookies, another traditional form in Sicilian kitchens, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon pine nuts into the top of each unbaked cookie.


  1. Lovely post David and I'm sad to read that Doreen will not be continuing with her posts. I always love her recipes.

    It takes guts to be able to fast. I could never do it for 40 days. I always fast during the last 15 days before Easter. Good for you Doreen!

    I'm a gluten glutton, yet this recipe sounds exciting since I love macaroons.

  2. I am sorry to hear that Doreen will no longer be posting. I hope that she will pop up again for an appearance in the future. I loved this genuine and heartfelt post. I also loved those gorgeous, cracked macaroons!

  3. Magda - we love the "gluten glutton" moniker! These chewy little cookies are pretty wonderful - we never missed the flour!

    Anna - thanks for your kind words. It was probably the hardest post for me to write!

    To you both - Doreen is very touched by your warm thoughts and wishes, and I will keep trying to get her to do posts from time to time!

  4. Hi David and Doreen,

    Endings are always hard... but, of course, even wonderful meals must end... so that we are able to begin others!

    Doreen, I do hope you will continue to represent the northeast with an occasional piece! Soon David will not remember how it feels to be so cold that all you want to do is hunker down and cook! If he should slip into coup soups and salads, I'll give you a ring!

    My best to each of you as you begin new endeavors.

  5. Susan - of COURSE you meant cold soups, although the though of a coup soup is intriguing! :) I love your comparison to the beginnings and endings of good meals. There is always another meal/adventure on the horizon...


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