StruffoliActually, it’s very sweet. Dripping-with-honey-and-sprinkled-with-rainbow-coloured-non-pareils kind of sweet:

My flash fiction memoir “The Honey Clusters” won an honorable mention in the 2015 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award and will be featured in their Nov/Dec 2015 issue!

The bittersweet part is in the content of the story. I wrote it shortly after this past Christmas while I still had a small plate of the traditional Italian treat called struffoli (honey clusters) remaining on the kitchen counter.

They don’t last long. They never do.

For my non-Italian friends, these are puffy little fried balls of dough coated in honey syrup, shaped into wreaths, and decorated with candied sprinkles. Trust me, they’re delicious. I grew up with them, as did my siblings and cousins, because my grandfather made them for occasions like Christmas and Easter and Arbor Day (Pop-pops could turn any day into a reason to make food). When I was about twenty–which means a lifetime ago–Pops dictated the recipe to my mum and I still have that grease-smeared slip of paper.

27 years old and counting...
27 years old and counting…

My grandfather is two-years-gone now, and I’ve taken over the struffoli-making at Christmastime. The family tradition will likely die with me (but I hope that’s not for a good long time).

So…sweet because the second piece of flash fiction I ever wrote managed to win a contest and will be published. Bitter because my Pop-pops isn’t alive to see it.

Or to make struffoli again, which he did until he was 93 years old.

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