An antidote to the pandemic

May 1, 2020 - 12:00am -- Emilie Christy

An antidote to the pandemic
Baking a special orange bread to cherish the present moment

By Emilie Christy

In past issues, Living City has highlighted the work of the Slow Food Movement, which promotes a lifestyle more conducive to the wellbeing of the whole person by “slowing down” in all aspects of daily life.

In this global crisis prompted by the coronavirus, life as we have known it is changing rapidly. Everyone is being challenged to respond in unfamiliar ways, to create a new normal — at least during this period of crisis. The isolation required of us goes contrary to our innate need to live in a community of caring people who look after one another, be it in the family, our neighborhood, with our colleagues at work.

Many groups and individuals are searching for ways to keep the community spirit alive, and often food — shared meals — has been an encouraging source in this regard. Slow Food Live is one such endeavor that invites listeners to join online sessions inviting people to share skills and stories about how to make pizza or plant seeds in a garden. Their website welcomes anyone with an idea to sign up to offer their particular skill or discovery.

Living City’s monthly Food & Community column extends a similar offer, and we look forward to hearing your experiences and recipes that support relationships in every circumstance of life.

The following is a favorite recipe from Milan, one of the many epicenters of the current pandemic. A friend shared it on social media. 

Orange Bread (serves 10)


  • 1 whole orange (organic)
  • 9 ounces of flour
  • 9 ounces of sugar
  • 4 ounces of butter or 3 ounces of grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 eggs


Oranges are the fragrance of Italy. For this cake you’ll need a whole one with the peel, so it’s essential that it is organic and untreated. You can replace part of the flour with almond flour.

In a bowl mix eggs and sugar and beat until you get a clear, frothy mixture. Then add the sifted flour, the butter (left to soften), baking soda and the baking powder. Wash the whole orange properly, cut it into pieces and blend it, including the skin. You will need to reach a puree. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the puree to the rest of the dough and mix well. Transfer everything into a parchment-lined or buttered loaf pan and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Check to see if it’s done with a toothpick. If it does not come out clean, bake an additional 5 minutes.

If you’re on a diet and don’t want to miss out on this dessert, you can replace the butter with seed oil. If you want to make the cake even tastier, prepare an icing by putting sugar and squeezed orange juice in a pan until you get a thick mixture to pour on the surface of the orange cake. For an extra touch you can sprinkle on chocolate chips, sultanas, pistachios or candied orange.

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