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A Masterpiece for Mother's Day

June 25, 1997

After seeing the movie "Big Night," I looked for a recipe for timpano but never found one--until yours ("Bake the Drum Slowly" [Timpano di Maccheroni al Ragu], Oct. 17, 1996, by Russ Parsons).

After reading the article and seeing what was involved, I thought I'd never try it--but now I have. On Mother's Day, I thought I would surprise my mother since this is truly a gift of love--at least I think so, considering what it took to get it on the table.

I began the morning before. Shopping wasn't a problem, and I followed the recipes for each component, each of which I would certainly do again. So far, so good. My main concern was with the crust, which I left for the next day. Anything with a dough or crust isn't my thing, so this was a real challenge. If worse came to worst, I did have pasta waiting and ready.

But I managed. I got the crust in the springform pan, filled the drum to a mound, arranged the top, cinched the sides, checked for any leaks or holes and slid this incredible looking thing into the oven.

It happened just as the story said. Slowly, the top crust turned golden, then brown. After about an hour, when the edges were dark brown and the whole thing looked set, I pulled it out. It looked perfect. Picture time.

I presented the whole beautiful drum to my mother, who was quite surprised and awed. She knew how much time, effort and love went into making it. And this before even tasting it.

The beauty of the outside was surpassed by the beauty on the inside. The different components, layered as they were, were a visual masterpiece. I had actually done it.

ROBERT EISENTHAL

Laguna Niguel

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