Monday, July 25, 2011

Not Without My Biscotti!

Chocolate walnut biscotti
half baked: take it out to cool a bit before slicing
reduce heat and bake until middles are firm
best dipped in whatever espresso concoction your heart desires

This was the title of the first screenplay I ever wrote. It was for a screenwriting class in film school that I had begged to take. It was a very popular class and those in the writing track had first dibs. I was in the production management track... an outsider...writers and producers weren't meant to mix it seemed. I don't know how I managed to get a spot, but I did and loved every minute of it.

Not Without My Biscotti was a cheeky take on the cafe culture that had sprung up on every street corner. Starbucks, though not new, had only begun it's world conquest and people everywhere were trading in their percolated grocery store grinds  for double-grande-non-fat-two-pump-vanilla-light-whip-white-mocha-lattes.  And with such diversity in drink offerings came unusual European pastries. How cultured and traveled I felt eating my biscotti with my frothy beverage. A cafe: it was the perfect setting for a budding love story, and biscotti: the perfect nemesis.

It was no Oscar contender, but it was good enough to catch the eye of a student in the directing class and it was chosen (as were many others) as a class project. I couldn't believe it! My first script - filmed! Well, videoed, really, but that didn't deter my excitement. I was thrilled that someone else got it...they got the absurdity but also the lure and delight of such a momentous turn in culture. Coffee was becoming an event the world over. But to my chagrin, it had not yet infiltrated my university town rooted in the almost south, where sweet tea was the order of the day.

The student producer found me and flashed me a big sparkly producer smile (remember I was in the producing track, I know that smile) and sat me down and said "Great story! We have a great cast... we're almost ready to shoot, we're just getting props sorted out. Can you tell me, what exactly is biscotti?"

My mouth opened but nothing came out except a weird breathy squeak. How could one choose a story to tell without knowing the very thing on which the story hinges. I did a very poor job describing what biscotti was because the crew ended up using an English muffin. Very different results.

So, nearly 13 years and billions of Starubucks later, it's likely that producer knows what a biscotti is now, but in the event there are still people out there who have yet to experience the biscotti I leave you with this: it is nothing like an English muffin.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
(I substituted walnuts for the pistachios and olive oil for the butter in the above, but the rest is based on this recipe)

1 comment:

  1. This makes me want to go back to Europe and have a nice strong coffee! Oh, I will have to visit in September...your house is such a good food factory these days!