|Poster from the 83rd annual Oscar awards|
Is there any night like the Academy Awards? Great Oscar moments live forever. One of my favourite moments from the past was Roberto Benigni walking over the backs of the chairs in the audience to get to the front. If I won an Oscar award, I'd be that excited too. And who'll forget some of the many other magical moments: Sally Field exuding, "You like me, you really like me!"; Bjork wearing a swan dress, or Cher wearing her black Bob Mackie; Jack Palance doing one-armed pushups; and James Cameron, shouting "I'm the King of the World!"
Great moments aside, I sometimes wonder why I love the Academy Awards so much. I don’t see many movies – this year I watched a pathetic three of the ten nominees. (At least those three, Inception, The King’s Speech, and The Social Network, were all terrific.) I don’t follow the lives of celebrities, other than what pops up on my Internet home page. And what I know about fashion is limited to blue jeans, except on days when I’m writing, when it’s limited to sweat pants.
So why are the Academy Awards such a big deal? A big part of it is the Oscar party. Every year a group of us gets together at Marlie’s house. We weigh in on beauty (yeah, Natalie Portman!) and fashion (yeah, Halle Berry!) We praise the excellent speeches; is it any surprise that a writer (David Seidler, for The King’s Speech) had the best one of the evening? We complete our Oscar pick sheets obsessively, hoping to win the Grand Prize – this year, it was a copy of the book The Movies That Matter.
Great girlfriends are wonderful in so many ways. My friend Kim showed up toward the end of the ceremony, after helping her 17-year old son celebrate his birthday. And in addition to her loyal friendship, one of the best things Kim has given me is this recipe. These squares, taken from Fare For Friends, a cookbook to raise money for a women's shelter, are one of my favourites. The sweetness of the apricot is a perfect balance for the tartness of the lemon. Why don’t you make a batch of these for your girlfriends?
(from Fare For Friends)
(from Fare For Friends)
2/3 cup dried apricots
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour (first amount)
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup flour (second amount)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
2 cups icing sugar
juice of one lemon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 9" square cake pan with parchment paper.
Cut apricots in small pieces and simmer with the water for 15 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, mix butter, sugar and 1 cup flour and press into prepared pan; bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat 2 egg yolks and combine with brown sugar, coconut, 1/2 cup flour, salt, baking powder, apricots and any remaining cooking water. Spread mixture on crust and bake for 25 minutes.
Once squares have cooled, combine butter, icing sugar and lemon. Spread on squares.