Friday, April 11, 2014

Sometimes a Cookie is Just a Cookie.

Dear Boo,

I have nothing profound to say about these cookies. A fact which has kept me from writing to you about them for some time, despite the fact that they are delicious, a cinch to make, and are both dairy free and flourless, which makes them perfect for those of us on restrictive diets/those of us celebrating the upcoming Jewish holiday. I just couldn't come up with anything poignant, moving, touching, funny, or otherwise worth saying about them, and so they've languished for weeks without a mention.

I thought about using these as a way to discuss why I’ve decided once and for all, that I am against diets of the sacrificial, weight-loss type, the kind that inevitably lend moral weight to inanimate, edible food items, and through their inevitable consumption (because we will, at some point, cave and give in and eat eat eat, feeling horrible and disgusted/disgusting the whole time), give us the false sense of BEING Good or Bad, as if these morsels have the ability to taint or cleanse our very souls. But I mean, really? Do you want to hear more about this? I'm annoying myself here.

Then I thought about something more light hearted, like the fact that when you mix up these ingredients, they somehow turn in an instant, into a thick glue-like consistency that caused my forearm muscles to ripple with the effort of moving the whisk through, despite the fact that I pick up and put down an 18 pound solid (and very cute) weight about a hundred thousand times a day. It reminded me of making ‘ooblech’ as a kid, a potent mix of corn starch, water and food coloring which turned solid when enclosed in a fist, and liquid when you opened your fingers. The best was hurling it at a wall while in the liquid state, a little puddle in your palm, which would then burst forth as spattering droplets which shattered upon impact with the surface.

The 18 lb weight enjoys some avocado
Then I thought I'd talk about how legend has it our grandmother used to bake every. single. day during our mother's childhood, and that homemade dessert would be served at every. single. meal. And that she did this while raising three kids and before the advent of And how I have one tiny person, a one bedroom apartment, and can barely manage to boil a pot of pasta, let alone make a pie crust on a tuesday afternoon. AND my husband does the laundry. But that these cookies are so simple and so fast to make that even I can do a fairly good impersonation of grandma and have a fresh-baked batch ready by dinner time. I was going to go on talking about how I still, six months in to motherhood, can't seem to get much done and how quickly each day seems to go by and how my standards for productivity have been lowered to the point where responding in a semi-timely fashion (read: three days late) to one email and finishing the dishes in the sink deserves a pat on the back. And then of course I remembered raising and growing and keeping alive another human being is pretty freaking productive and then I fell asleep from BOREDOM because complaining about being tired and busy is like the most boring thing in the world and I refuse to do any more of it.

And then I stopped thinking about these cookies and started thinking about how many other things I am not doing because I'm waiting for something outside of myself to happen--inspiration to strike, a sign to be sent my way, someone to swoop in and rescue me from doing it myself, fear to be miraculously removed from my path, indecision to be wiped away once and for all. And the list was loooong, lemme tell you. Its tremendously easy for me, I've found, to think about doing something without actually doing it. To focus on all the reasons not to do it, or not to do it NOW, or why someone else should really be the one to do it, or to get up and eat another pretzel--just ONE more--before I do.

And really, what is all of that nonsense anyway.

So I'm taking a stance, here and now, to stop waiting. Sometimes inspiration comes. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it shows up when you're busy slogging away. Sometimes it arrives at precisely the moment you sit down to do your work, with hours of uninterrupted quiet stretched ahead of you and the chair that's perfectly soft and shaped to your butt with extra lumbar support. But usually not. Sometimes things you (I) write will suck. Sometimes they won't. Sometimes other people will do it better. (And they'll definitely do it better if you don't do it at all.) Sometimes cookies are profound. And sometimes a cookie is just a cookie. And you write about it anyway. Because its better to write than not to write. Because they're yummy and your sister should have the recipe.

You're welcome.


The Mouse

P.S. Speaking of inspiration, I will forever love this interview on the subject.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies (Courtesy of Bon Appetit)

3 cups gluten-free powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons cacao nibs preparation

Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Whisk powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk in egg whites and egg; fold in chocolate and cacao nibs. Spoon batter by the tablespoonful onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2" apart. Bake, rotating sheets once, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and set just around the edges, 14–16 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool on pan (they'll firm up). DO AHEAD: Cookies can be baked 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.


CT Gramma said...

Your grandma was a great baker, a natural who could effortlessly change a recipe without it resulting in disaster. As for me, it's more fun to read about your cookies than try to make them. Best of all is the bonus photo here. Try to remember that your body and your mind are still recovering from the dramatic upheaval the 18-pound weight has wrought. Don't beat yourself up for not be being Wonder Woman.She's fictional.

Anonymous said...

I love you CT Gramma. And you're so right! Being a mom changes you forever. It takes time to recognize that some things we had prioritized will take back seats for a while. But the LOVE you feel for this little chunker (who I must pinch and soon) will grow and grow until you just feel like you cannot bear to love anything as much as her. Until the next one. :-) -MB

Anonymous said...

I love everything about this post.
you, your honesty, your struggles so absolutely familiar and human, inspire me. She, and all that she is filled with your inspiration, vision, she glows, radiates with you and J's spirit...revel in that
should i post this? remove it?
I love you.

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