I'm not Italian. Not one little bit. But I did grow up in New York. If you grew up in the New York you can claim to be Italian. Not really, but you can sure love their food! Seriously, love Italian food! I miss that food so much-- especially the pastries!
When I was a kid, I always looked forward to my birthday every year -- really just for the cake. You know cake from a "real" bakery. The kind of bakery that was completely stark white inside. There were some mean old ladies who stood behind a counter that reached their noses. As they barked at you, your eyes couldn't help but take in the homemade deliciousness behind them. Leaving the real bakery meant you carried out a plain white box tied with red and white bakers twine. This is where my birthday cake came from. My cannolli filled, freshly made birthday cake. Life was good to be a kid with a birthday, living in New York.
And while I have seen tons of wantabes in the south, I have N.E.V.E.R. had a real cannolli here. But now, south of the south (in sunny south Florida) is a real Italian bakery. One with white boxes, red string, and cannollis! That is why I was crazy excited for my mom's most recent visit. She was driving up this time and next to her in a cooler would be boxes of cannollis, rainbow cookies, and napoleans! About 100,000 calories riding shotgun in the Honda on their way to me.
Needless to say, I have had the best week ever. I can still taste the sweet riccotta filing even though it took me all of two minutes to polish everything off.