Sbattutino Is Love

We asked Montreal author and editor, Licia Canton, for a recipe and a story. For this Valentine’s Day, why not make sbattutino for the one you love?


“What’s the most important ingredient in this meal?” I grew up with that question.

I did a lot of the cooking after school. I was taught that every meal is made slowly and caringly. Love is the main ingredient to every meal.

Of all the foods I learned to prepare, from my mother and father, the sbattutino* is the one that I equate with love. My mother’s love. My mother is the only one who has ever made sbattutino for me. It’s quite simple to make really: simply beat an egg yolk with two tablespoons of sugar until it becomes a creamy white mixture and the grains of sugar are no longer distinguishable. Getting it just right involves constant beating for about fifteen minutes.

The sbattutino is comfort food – it tastes good and it’s uplifting. I yearn for my mother’s sbattutino when I am really down. A few years ago, when I was bedridden after a car accident, my mother asked if there was anything she could do for me.

“Can you make me a sbattutino?” I asked. “That’s all I want.”

Very early the next morning, she came over and made my childhood treat for breakfast.

The other day I visited my mother, now 80, in her Montreal-North home. She wanted to feed me, of course. She had left-over polenta and guinea hen. She had homemade biscotti.

“How about a sbattutino?” I asked.

She went over to the kitchen, took out the eggs and the sugar bowl.

We had some on bread – spreadable sbattutino. We had some with espresso and milk. And I also had some with Marsala.

Over the years I’ve made sbattutino for my children, but it just doesn’t taste the same as my mother’s.


*Literally sbattutino means “little beaten one.” (Isn’t it interesting that this drinkable food is uplifting.) The word has its root in the verb sbattere – to beat, as in “to beat an egg.” Sbattuto means beaten. And the suffix “ino” is the diminutive. For those who know a little Italian: it is “lo sbattutino” or “uno sbattutino,” not “il” or “un” because the “s” is followed by a consonant.


Text and Photos by Licia Canton

One thought on “Sbattutino Is Love

  1. “Love is the main ingredient to every meal.”
    What fabulous words!!!

    I really want to taste your mothers Sbattutino with you.Maybe it’s contained full of love for you!

    Thank you very much for your short story!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s