I said something was “slower than molasses in wintertime” and my girlfriend asked “what’s molasses?” A: a viscous by-product of sugar refinement (Southern variation sorghum, British variation black treacle). Cooking tip… instead of brown sugar, which gets hard if you don’t use it often, add molasses to regular white sugar when a recipe calls for brown sugar.
Sometimes I wish I still lived in a world when knowing about molasses meant something and times were slow enough for me to make cookies from scratch. Oh alright, I could make them today if I felt like it, but do I need any more cookies? I just want some of my obsolete skills to be valued.
Which leads me to one of those seasonal push-me pull-me moments. Sometimes I like to cook, but I don’t like it when I’m expected to cook. Cooking can get expensive and I dislike it when men won’t pull their weight in the kitchen. But then, I’m actually pretty good at cooking, and I like to feel appreciated.
What to do, what to do?
Last week I made clam chowder. I noticed a surprising amount of it was missing the next day. I asked my brother if he’d eaten it. Yes. Did you like it? YES. Good. Even better that he washed the dishes. See, that’s all I really need for positive reinforcement. I might make clam chowder again sometime. This brother has always known how to work me. I might let him have some cranberries and non-dairy pumpkin pie this week.
I work around some staff and volunteers whose life work has been cooking for their loving families. They’re the last of a dying breed I think. Most people seem to “make” cookies by scooping out pre-made batter from the grocery store, plopping it on a baking sheet, bake 10 minutes, and general acclaim by the recipients. I’m pretty sure that my cookies with butter and eggs will make my loved ones live longer.
When my grandma was alive, she spent most of her time in the kitchen. She didn’t have to do all the other stuff that I have to do in a day, at least in my lifetime. When she was young she was a single parent had to work and support her sons, and I’m sure that was very hard. After she married my grandpa I bet she was grateful to spend days perfecting her recipe for white cake.
It’s not all about cakes and cookies either. I told my brother I had a yen for greens. What kind? All kinds -- turnip greens, mustard, collards. I got collards. They were in the fridge the next day and I spent who knows how long washing, chopping, simmering, and especially thinking that I have to be careful about out loud yens if my wish fulfillment was going to work out this well. I suggested that a free-range turkey might be a good idea. We’ll see if that shows up.
My view is that we lived better when we ate better, and best yet when we ate together. I hope everyone has a warm and loving Thanksgiving this week, and for those of you outside the US, please join us in the best of holidays when the point of everything is to slow down long enough be with people you love, sharing gratitude for all of the good that comes into our lives. And yeah, good food :)