comfort food in the throes of life ::::
Sometimes we need a few words for comfort. Sometimes we just need to listen. This is one of them.
In a somewhat new city, still finding my niche, adjusting to a new landmarks, and finding new light, I need some silence to reflect. Eat is soon out of the country to Africa, in the throes of the fight against Ebola (yes, I’m serious). I am house manager, event planner, chauffeur, and chef — single parent — while he is gone. I have not yet found the calm at the end of the day, when the babes are asleep to recenter (though oatmeal cookies are often my center, through good and bad). There is something about the crisp nights or the cool, gray light of most mornings I remember in Northern California that calmed me. When the sun appeared, burning off all of the clouds by mid-morning, I’d often be disappointed that the gray would not linger. The light in the morning is soft and diffuse, without sharp shadows and the squinty brightness of the sun. And in Atlanta, that sun starts blazing more quickly in the morning, the humidity making that light heavy, weighing us down by mid-morning. Most people might think the gray more solemn, more lonely, than the sunny yellow, cheery and smile-provoking. Sometimes I want that gray to last, so that I can notice subtleties. These days, there are glaring contrasts in this world: black/white, oppression/privilege, and just twitches of goodness. It has been a bad few weeks, seeing our world crumble into more divisive factions, this “us” and “them.” I’m going through some re-examination of my own life, where I need to be, how I need to contribute. Where I need to be a listener. Where I need to be an advocate. How I need to use my voice.
Not that food blogging isn’t a fun pastime for me, a way to reflect and cook, remember and appreciate, to escape from the rigors of work and/or ups and downs of mothering, but lately there is a dull cheerlessness blanketing my usual joy in the process. Time to examine. Time to LISTEN. Back in awhile.
Eat cookies and relax. Pray. Hug the children.
Recipe slightly adapted from the marvelous smitten kitchen.
Two years ago: vegan curried pumpkin soup
- ½ cup (about 115 g) butter, softened
- ⅔ cup (125 g) dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (95 g) all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour (1:1 sub is fine)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups (120 g) old-fashioned oats
- ¾ cup (120 g) golden raisins
- ½ cup pecans (70 g), chopped (optional)
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and pecans.
- Place bowl into fridge to chill for at least a couple of hours (overnight works). This ensures that your cookies will be thick when baking, rather than melting too quickly and flattening out.
- When ready to scoop, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Scoop (I used a smallish scooper) and set cookies about two inches apart on a parchment-lined or silicone-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes; they are done when edges are golden.
- Allow them sit on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring each to a rack to cool. I like to make mini ice cream sandwiches with these cookies, hazelnut ice cream my absolute favorite choice.