Last year at this time, our house was completely torn up due to a remodel. When left to consider where I might set up shop while all of the dust, noise, and construction workers took over, it didn’t take long to decide that if I moved my Mac down to the kitchen, I’d be just fine. It would mean that I could cook, shoot photos, then pass samples among the crew for critique before settling in to write about what I was busy making: cookies. This isn’t completely out of place if one considers that it is December, and many cooks do bake cookies for the holidays. But do they bake in the middle of what seemed to be a disaster zone at the time, and at the pace of one cookie per day? “The 12 Days of Cookies: A Gourmet cookie extravaganza” was born.
It doesn’t sound as crazy now that a year has passed, but the time has arrived to bake more cookies. Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench has invited those of us who participated last year to join in on the cookie baking frenzy once again along with a few new participants. Instead of choosing recipes from Gourmet, we are making Bon Appetit our source for recipes, but since I have a tendency to deviate from the norm, I just may select a recipe here or there for consideration as well.
The goal is to bake 12 cookies, posting one each day for 12 days. Since this involves far less of a commitment than making 101 of Mark Bittman’s Simple Salads, I think I’ll be just fine — especially since there is not one construction worker in sight. I’m happy to say that I’ll bake with quite a fine group of individuals: Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Courtney of Coco Cooks, and Judy of No Fear Entertaining who are all returning this year, and Michelle of Big Black Dog, Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, Renee of Flamingo Musings, and Tiffany of The Nesting Project who will be joining us this year. A special nod goes to Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes who started the group last year, but cannot join in on the craziness this year.
Are you ready?
I saw the shiny orbs of deep garnet bulging from the plastic bag they were packed in and knew I had to have them. The sale price posted above all but screamed my name so I chose a bag and gingerly placed it in my cart after turning it over to inspect its nether regions. I didn’t care how great the price was — there’s nothing worse than a rotten cherry, except perhaps a rotten grape.
I had no recipe in mind, which makes no difference when I can flip through seasonal magazines or Google Cherry Ice Cream regardless of what Julia Child may have thought about the dedication of cooks who do this to make decisions about what they’ll prepare when they haven’t planned. I’d like to say it’s more about seizing an opportunity which is what we have to do with seasonal products and if that makes me less than a serious cook to some, so be it.
My inevitable Google search led me to a site I’ve enjoyed since first beginning my own more than two years ago: 101 Cookbooks. And although the recipe I chose there didn’t include the Coke float I ended up making with my ice cream, it was certainly an excellent place to begin.
Are you lucky enough to remember ordering a vanilla or cherry Coke from an old fashioned soda shop or hamburger stand? Oh, the memories…
Being at Lis’ wedding this past weekend was an amazingly busy swirl of activity focused on obvious preparations, food, getting acquainted, food, 4am bed times, food, and then more food.
Did I say food?
Not much else can be expected from a group of serious foodies, right? I’m still in awe of the idea that people can meet through the Internet, converse for a year and a half in blog comments, cyber bake sessions, and more than a few phone calls in some cases, then meet — it all seeming surrealistically normal. Like I’d always known Lis, Helene and John. The wedding ceremony was tear inducing (I’m a sucker for big guys who are so obviously devoted to their wives), the reception an artfully decorated evening on the shores of stormy Lake Erie, and the cake something I wish I still had a slice or two of hidden deep in the freezer so I might sneak it out when no one was looking and nibble on it, savoring. Yes, very good times — and wistful, surprisingly. When you’ve spent so much time together for several days, and are so busy, once you’re gone, you think of all the conversations you might have had — questions you might have asked.
But there’s always next time, right?
In the meantime here’s a bit of tea and scones served up on my wedding dishes. I’ll imagine that my no longer invisible friends are sitting across the table with me. The rest of you can pull up a chair as well if you’d like a warm Cherry Orange Almond scone with Devonshire Cream and jam with a hot cup of Assam.
How do you like your tea?