I feel bad that I’ve gone nearly a week without any blog updates – I think when I started I figured 2 or 3 entries a week would be reasonable.. hmmm, best laid plans. I’d like to say I’ve just been too ‘busy’ but truth be told, that’s not the case – maybe just a bit too scattered. My mind has been all over the place and more than anything, I haven’t been able to form a cohesive line of thinking that would possibly be of interest to anyone. As I’ve been getting into the real intent of this project I’ve been thinking a lot about cancer, and on a positive note, how much things have changed. How early detection and clinical trials are saving so many lives and how some people just got it a little too soon and how some people just got really lucky, and how some people did not. It’s definitely a humbling thing to think about, and then you throw on top of that all that has and is and will happen in Haiti and to it’s people, it’s all just been a bit overwhelming.
So instead I’ve apparently channeled Scarlett O’Hara and have opted to bury myself in cookbooks and the Internet and recipe cards and cooking magazines. I appear to have embarked upon a futile search for the ‘World’s Greatest Cookie.’ There is definitely no shortage of opinions on this one, nor am I lacking in the resource department. I’m thankful that I fought the impulse to slap down twenty bucks for ‘Martha Stewart's Cookies’ from the book section of Wegman’s the other day. Say what you will about Martha, but that woman (ok, her ‘people’) can bake a mean cookie, and then do it true justice with some awesome food photography. Which, not to get off track, but this food photography thing has come a long way – some of my 1992 Bon Appetit magazine dinner party photographs look like dog food compared to the artistic interpretations we see now – just amazing. But back to Martha for a second, so yes I saved a few dollars but then in turn spent the better part of the day on Sunday surfing through her online ‘Cookie of the Day’ archives – all I can say is keep an eye out for them as they’ll be “Coming soon to a Clubhouse near you!”
Now the problem is this, it’s Tuesday morning and I have yet to decide what I’m going to bake tonight – I know I have plenty of options given that I’ve been stocking up on ingredients as of late – but for a variety of ridiculous reasons, I’m incapable of making a decision on this one – will it be another biscotti? a linzer cutout? the old stand by of chocolate with mint frosting? a light molasses cookie? some Martha Stewart 20 ingredient concoction? or an old fashioned sour cream drop cookie? Which, by the way, I spent the better part of the weekend scouring around searching for the recipe, which also included an emergency family email that ended up all the way over in Australia to try to elicit some family flavor memories of days long past: Was there nutmeg in it? It was frosted, right? But with a glaze, not a buttercream? Here’s one, I wrote ‘good’ on it so it must be it! Nope that’s a cutout, definitely not a cutout … and the conversation continues….
That actually was kind of fun, I was thinking this morning of how, long before Tupperware or Ziplocs, our great aunts would show up at our house in their big old Buick with several dozen sour cream cookies for us all neatly layered in a Williams Brothers shirt box. That was fine by us, it was pretty unlikely any of the 5 or 6 dozen cookies could possibly get stale in our house of 10. Rumor has it the original recipe is out there and in capable hands – a free batch to whomever can produce it … after it passes the ‘taste test’ which must also involve transporting me back to 1969, since a cookie, you see, may not be able to change the world, but I’m willing to bet it can invoke time travel. To anyone reading this I'd love to hear about some of your favorite cookie memories, since, after all, that is what truly makes a cookie great - and tossing a recipe or two my way wouldn't hurt either!
Ok, that’s enough reminiscing, you can see why I’m having such difficulty here – I’ll impress even myself if I actually show up at Gilda’s Club with any cookies tomorrow!
Here goes, a very blatant rip off of the Julie/Julia project - but without the daily study and committment and hopefully far less butter and cream!
For the 52 weeks of 2010 I'm going to bake a batch (or two) of cookies each week and provide them to various local charities and residential non-profits. It's a bit self serving - I get to do what I love - baking - and then get to avoid what I love a bit too much - eating! It's a near ideal scenario for me. Hopefully along the way I'll get to meet some great people, test out some new recipes and broaden my baking and presentation techniques. I'll continue to tweak recipes to improve the nutritional value and then I'll give them away, to who, exactly, I'm not so sure just yet but I'm working on it.
Life gets busy, but to spend an hour or two week to throw together a batch of homemade cookies to give to folks that might be going through a hard time seems like a pretty small contribution to society but maybe, just maybe, it'll change the world, one batch at a time ... to be continued ...