My father passed away in the fall of 2007, and, as is customary in these situations, my family was flooded with sympathy food. Meals, snacks, desserts—you name it, our amazing friends delivered it. Through no fault of the kind, thoughtful cooks involved, though, there wasn’t much enjoyment in the majority of that eating.
We had perfect weather the night before the memorial service. Close friends and family members crowded around the patio table as many bottles of wine were opened and stories were told, both funny and bittersweet. Earlier in the day, one of those chef-friends had dropped off a basket of homemade Italian baked goods, which was brought out, passed around, and promptly demolished. I don’t remember eating anything else that evening. I know I did, but that focaccia—dense, chewy, salty, studded with briny kalamata olives and sprinkled with rosemary—was the only thing I really tasted.
Lucky for me, she shared the recipe; unlucky for me (and for you), it’s been languishing in my email ever since. I couldn’t bring myself to cook a whole lot in the weeks that followed, never mind something that would take me back to that unbearable span of time. But I was reminded of my moment of carbohydrate nirvana a few months later, when a food blogger I most enjoy posted instructions for her own take on the savory treat.