Hello, dears! I bring to you today a homage to the first cookie I made in the Home Ec/Shop class I took when I was 11 years old. I remember that it was a really different baking experience than I was familiar with. It wasn’t fun. It seemed competitive, like, for whatever reason it was important who got done first. And then, you had the bell at the end of the class signaling that you were going to be late to your next class and you also haven’t even finished baking or cleaning up your station! Ah! No time! No licking of spoons! Stress cookies!
One of the things I love most about being in a kitchen is the possibility of relaxation, escape, time slowing down (but, of course you have kitchen timer spirit guides to help you on your way) and a simple/complicated task of being creative, messing up and starting over again. Cooking and baking is definitely like another language, both intuitive and written in stone. Holding both is the challenge.
The other day I found myself doing a wee bit of babysitting, as they like to call it. We started our early morning off with sorting through my little six-year-old friend’s, (we’ll call her “Sugarface”) button collection. Like, for fun. Without any particular reason other than admiring the lovely, little buttons: we sorted by categories of “banana cream pie,” “abstract art,” sparkly golds,” and “ones that just look nice together” among many more. We sat in the early morning sunlit room together. It was probably the best morning I’ve had all week. This slowing down, creating personal and important categories of objects is such a beautiful practice. To have a process with no end is delightful. And then we put them back.
So, the snickerdoodles. The recipe was from the cookbook Sugarface’s mom and dad had at the house, and she seemed really into using that book over anything else. No Mother Google, not today. Ah, “The Joy of Baking” it is. I really value that. Going to the cookbooks I grew up with is also comforting, and it’s cool that Sugarface will have that similar experience one day, too, when she’s a bit older.
So, I might say, one suggestion I would have after baking these: Always, always, look at how much a recipe yields. Because, I didn’t. We ended up with so many cookies and used too much butter (sorry, Sugarface’s mom and dad!). But! All the dough gave us lots of material to sculpt! Instead of the standard, roll into balls, roll in cinnamon and sugar mix, place on cookie sheet…we had fun sculpting snakes, swirls, cinnamon buns, swirlydoos, hearts, and etc. They all eventually spread into delicious discs but it was fun. I recommend.
I might as well just link you to this recipe. I think it’s the one we used…either way, it’s lots of butter and delish. I would definitely play around with adding more complex spices to the sugar mix – cardamom? Nutmeg? Cloves? Ginger? YUM.
What I’ve been thinking about is how when we’re smaller, objects, like books, or cookies/things we consume and put in our bodies, have these different meanings than they do, as we get older. That’s why, for instance, my last post (about the matzo cookies I used to have when I was little), and in thinking about food histories, it seems really important to consider how we imbue a bit of home in each recipe, story, or kitchen. How yes, we can go back to these moments, but they’re never the same, and that’s an important part of reconnection and growth. Reconnection with our other selves (oh, yeah, we have lots of those); a growing apart; a reminder that we’ve come so far and we just can’t go back, but we can certainly hold on.
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