The first time I saw Lauren Cranford the immediate desire that took my mind was:
- I want to have that smile. -
So, I did not think “ I wish I had that smile” . I just thought “I want it”.
I know now that it was a good thought.
Lauren’s smile was simply real. I am sure you know what I mean: too often we see faky smiles. But Lauren’s was not, because everything on her face was smiling, nose included. I’d say that even her body was smiling through her gestures and her clothes too: light, colourful but always simple.
She had, and still has, the smile number three coming up from the inside of her heart and opening on her lips, demostrating pure joy for the wonderful things of the daily life. Do not miserunderstand me: being grateful for the nice things means also to be conscius of the miserability that upsets the world.
I understand now why people used to reproach me saying “you never smile”, although I was sure i was smiling all the time. It was beacuse I had got only the smile number one on the surface of my mouth.
The smile number one is the convenience smile people have got to do when in front of the others, in public places, in job places, at school etcetera etcetera. People wear it just in the same way they wear an heavy coat when cold. Of course this does not mean they are really happy. Even, unfortunately, often they are not happy at all.
By the time I met Lauren I was 80% unhappy. Like if all the miserability of the world was on my own shoulders. The 20% left made me able to wear on a smile and just a little aware of the luck in my life. But it was clear to anyone with a bit of soul that mine was just a  20% smiling smile.
Since then I have done some progress. I am almost sure to have got the smile number two.
People meet me and say: - Wow! You are in a gorgeous shape! Did you loose weigh?-
I wish to loose weigh: actually I can use my job as a valid excuse to eat and I have gained some pounds. But the trip I have started toward the most dangerous of the lands, which is just our own “inside”, has began to give good fruits. My smile is larger now, and heavier too. So the new ratio created between my weigh and my smile sees the smile winner on the weigh. I have a larger body, but an even larger smile. That is why people see me thinner.
People also have stopped to reproach me with the fact that I never smile. I do it better.
I’m exercising right now, observing Lauren’s rules as host in her home.
I am sure I will get soon to the smile number three.

These recipes are no good to loose weigh, but extremely good to smile. Make them small, so your sense of guilty would be smaller too.

                                                         SORRISI DI FORMAGGIO

120 gr ( 4 Oz) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
120 gr ( 4 Oz) Mascarpone cheese
70 gr ( 2.5 Oz ) pulverized almonds
Fresh ground black pepper
Poppy seeds

Mix the two cheeses in a bowl and refrigerate for half hour.
Mix together pulverized almonds, a pinch of fine salt, a pinch of fresh ground black pepper and half teas spoon of poppy seeds.
Shape little cylinders, 2 inches long, with the cheese mixture and roll them into the almond mixture. Bend in the form of a smile.
Keep in the refrigerator 2 hours before serving.


For the babà pastry:
500 gr. ( a little more than 1 lb) Pastry flour
150 gr. ( 5 Oz)  Butter
75 gr. ( 2.5 Oz) Sugar
50 gr. Brewer’s yeast or 6 envelopes dry yeast
12 eggs

Mix together the flour, softened butter, yeast, 6 eggs and vanilla. When well blended, add the remaining eggs, 2 at a time. Let rise for 20 minutes.
Butter and flour little round moulds, the size of a big walnut, being aware to fill them no more than half. Let the little pastries to rise again until they get the brim of the mould. Put in the oven and bake at 180° for 10-15 minutes. Cool and un-mould.

For the syrup:
500 gr. (a little more than 1 lb) Sugar
250 gr. ( 1 cup) Water
250 ml ( 1 cup ) Rhum

Put the water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the Rhum and turn off the heat.

For the pastry cream:
10 egg yolks
150 gr ( 5 Oz) sugar
50 gr (2,5 Oz) flour
1,2 Lt ( 5 cups) milk
Vanilla drops
50 gr (2.5 Oz) bitter cocoa powder

Mix together the sugar, flour and sifted cocoa.
Beat the egg yolks with the mixture until foamy.
Heat the milk with a few vanilla drops.
Temper the egg mixture with a few spoons of hot milk, stirring well at the same time. Then pour the batter into the milk pot, without stopping to stir.
Put the pot back on low heat and cook at low temperature until it starts to simmer.
Take off from heat and let it cool down.


Make a large and deep “smile” cut on the surface of each pastry.
Put all the little pastries in a large bowl and pour the Rhum syrup upon, so that they  soak .
Fill the smile cuts with chocolate custard.
Serve the “smiles” inside paper fancy containers.