(Baked Alaska photo courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Baked Alaska and How to Make It: Flaming desserts, first at Peaberry’s in New Rochelle and later at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, startled Bessie. Because of their dramatic appearance, these easy-to-create novelties gained great popularity. To make baked Alaska: Cover ice cream with meringue and toast the meringue with a BBQ lighter. Then soak 3-4 sugar cubes in brandy or any liqueur, place the cubes on top of the toasted meringue and light them with the BBQ lighter. Now you’re ready to serve a flaming dessert.

Since the liqueur quickly burns off, this is basically a non-alcoholic dessert. As Lou tells Bessie, “There’s not enough alcohol in your dessert to make a fly tipsy.” A chef at New Delmonico’s named his concoction “Baked Alaska” to celebrate the American acquisition of Alaska in 1876.

Immigrant Recipes: Discover what immigrant mothers cooked for their families in 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman (NY: Harper, 2011). Get German, Italian, Irish, Russian, and Kosher recipes that immigrant mothers used in poorly-equipped kitchens to feed large families.

Peach Melba: Named after Nellie Melba whom Nathan and Bessie heard at Carnegie Hall, peach melba was created by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel in London. It’s easy, fast, and flameless. Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a bowl, cover with fresh sliced peaches, and pour raspberry puree or sauce on top of the peaches and ice cream.