Tiramisu emerges as titillating sin in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’
As a columnist, one nice and also horrifying aspect to the Internet is that stuff you wrote when you were a kid is floating around out there. The other day as I was researching something completely different I happened upon a Nibbles column I wrote in 1993 when I was the food editor at the Boulder Daily Camera. The column was also distributed by the Knight-Ridder News Service so the version below was actually published in the Baltimore Sun. Like seeing an old snapshot, I smiled at my nearly 20 year old prose and a time when tiramisu was still so novel on American menus that it could evoke such titillation. So much has changed since then, personally and collectively. Here’s a little flashback for you:
In the romantic comedy “Sleepless in Seattle,” a widower played by Tom Hanks asks for advice from his friend, played by Rob Reiner.
He hasn’t gone on a date since the Carter administration and wants to know what “tiramisu” is. He worries that “some woman is gonna want me to do it to her, and I won’t know how to do it.”
Mr. Reiner neglects to explain tiramisu, which has resulted in a flood of inquiring calls to the film’s distributor, TriStar.
Although this is a family newspaper, it is appropriate to talk about tiramisu, especially as practiced by caring, consenting adults.
Mr. Hanks’ character shouldn’t worry. Most normal women would enjoy tiramisu with a man. Guys like it too, especially in an atmosphere free from performance pressure.
Pronounced terra-mee-ZOO, tiramisu is a yummy Italian dessert involving soft ladyfinger cakes, sweet and creamy mascarpone cheese, espresso, brandy and perhaps chocolate.
However, bright couples should approach it cautiously because there’s no such thing as “safe tiramisu.”
It contains the four deadly sins: fat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. In other words, as Mr. Reiner says to Mr. Hanks in this confection of a movie:
“You’ll love it!”
John Lehndorff is the editor of Colorado Table in the Aurora Sentinel, Buckley Guardian and Life Science publications and sites. He writes the Nibbles column.
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