26 November 2006

Family Affairs and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Well, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my mother's house yesterday. When you have a nurse in the family, you get used to accepting alternative holidays...Christmas on the 26th, Thanksgiving on the fourth Saturday in November. I'd been imagining all manner of horrors, this being the first major holiday we'd be celebrating since Dad died. In some ways, the weekend lived up to those expectations. It was very hard to be at my parents' house. In other ways, the pain of Dad's abscence was almost completely ameliorated by this:

Seven and a half months, came to Jersey with one tooth (lower right) and had a second one (lower left) coming through by the ride back to Pittsburgh. A much more pleasant disposition than his father deserves. From what her mother has said, better disoposed than his mother deserves, too. Sits up, tries to stand and is creeping...just like his dad, who never crawled. Brendan is so efficient and quick in his creep I wonder if he, like his father, might choose never to crawl proper but creep himself along until her learns to walk. He is a truly wonderful baby and I wish I could see him more often. About once a week ought to do.

And I didn't feel the need to run away but spent a few hours after Mike and Jen left helping Mom access and organize her Christmas things and erecting their spiral "trees" on the front lawn. Came home with a sack full of goodies, too. Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, crab dip, olives. Yum! At least two meals at work this week. I do so love taking leftovers to work.

Something must have suited me about the weekend because, for the first time in months, I actually felt like doing something when I got home instead of simply vegging in front of the computer. I swept the steps and walkway, filled the bird feeders, let Sadie have a little run.

I decided I'd make some Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars. That meant I needed eggs. I searched the web for substitutions for eggs in recipes, none of which I had ready at hand (corn starch? potato starch? egg whites? Why the fuck do you need egg whites to create an egg substitute??? Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?). I made out to go the the Acme to pick up eggs and other needed supplies then decided at the last minute to go to the Wawa across the street instead.

I feel like a kid in a candy store when I start feeling a little better, you know. The smallest, simplest things bring me so much joy. Just feeling like cleaning out the refrigerator and taking the trash out fills me with pleasure. I did both of those when I got home, even wiping the shelves in the fridge. But, though I felt better enough to get out to the store, I couldn't quite make myself face the Acme. So I went to the Wawa and spent $14.00 for milk, potato chips, peanut butter (no name), half a pound of American cheese and a dozen eggs.

I felt as if I was doing something I shouldn't as I walked around the store with my bounty. I felt decadent, like a spendthrift. I am a child of children of the Depression. Money is not to be wasted. Things are not to be thrown away if we might possibly have a use for them, now or in a distant future. My dad's basement offers testimony to that ethic. The difference tonight was this...I didn't care.

It's my money and I can do with it as I choose. It really didn't bother me to be spending $2.99 for a bag of rippled chips just because I want to have french onion dip during the game and I was too lazy, tired and indifferent to brave the Acme.

So, I made my pan of cookie bars, adding peanut butter as per one of the package suggestions. Too bad I found out too late that I didn't have enough butter. Take it from me now that I've sampled one of the bars I'd planned on treating my co-workers with on a Monday...Crisco and oil do not make up for a stick of Land o' Lakes. Oh well. They're tasty enough. It's just the floury texture and Sahara-esque dryness that's the issue. Fortunately for me, I love milk and now have a full gallon plus. I guess I'll be eating dry chocolate chunk cookie bars as my after work snack all week.

Washing clothes now while the Eagles play. So far they look pretty good, making their way down the field. Too bad Indianapolis scored on their first possession so the Birds are playing to a 7 point deficit. And now David Akers, one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL, miss a three-pointer to the left because of a high snap. Damn.

It's a good thing I'm feeling better or an evening alone with the Eagles on tv might be enough to push me into the dark abyss.

Baker's Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars
Oven at 375 degrees Farenheit

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened (trust me on this one)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

1 package (12 oz.) Baker's Semisweet Chocolate Chunks

3/4 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Variation: leave out nuts, add 1 cup peanut butter

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks and nuts (or peanut butter).

Spread dough in a greased, foil-lined 15x10x1 inch baking sheet and bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. (Makes 3 dozen) Or spread into a 9x13 inch baking pan and bake for 20-22 minutes. (Easily cut into 21 pieces. They're softer this way.) Cool in pan. Cut while chocolate still warm. Enjoy. Great with cold milk.

Update: by the time I got done this post, the Eagles were down 21-0 with 8 minutes to play in the second quarter. On national television yet. I think it's time for a glass of wine.

tags: chocolate / depression / family / food / football / grief / life


At November 28, 2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Lily said...

Wow I'm reading about cookies and WaWa (which creates nostalgia for me as a Pennsylvanian who used to stop at a WaWa damned near every day at the "old house") and my eyes are travelling to the sidebar- nude thursdays! Clit this and clit that...

Wait. That stuff could be called "clittle of this and that". ANYWAY my sheltered prude mind just about exploded. :) You are one hip grandma. But, dare I click on anything?

You sound like me in a store. You sound like what I call "a deliberator". Should I buy this? Should I blow three bucks on that? No butter? Ah, screw it. I want cookies. Improvise!

Nice to meet you. I hailed from the Pirate Queen's ship.

At November 29, 2006 12:16 AM, Blogger Cheryl said...

Hi Lily and welcome aboard. I somehow doubt I've done any damage to your "sheltered prude" mind. Thank you for your kind words. I try to be a hip grandma. I'm working my way to full-blown cool, arty crone. I expect about 20 more years and I should be there.

I just stopped by Gynocracy Invasion and got lost for an hour...what a great site! Is it yours? If not, where is yours? : )

Nice to meetcha, too.I'll have to get back to the Pirate Ship soon. It's been a while.

Take care...


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