a little something extra

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

when the going gets tough, the tough make peanut butter cookies

The going got tough this weekend, when I received confirmation that I wouldn't get an interview for a job I'd really wanted. My coping techniques included logging many hours on the new cell phone, calling in sick to work on Monday, and making peanut butter cookies.

"Why peanut butter cookies?" you may ask. What mystical healing qualities lie in the humble crosshatched disks?

Well, first, cooking or cleaning or building something is good balm to the troubled soul. It's productive, orderly, and controllable. I have friends who scrub their bathtubs when they're angry, or who redecorate a room when a romance breaks up. I like cooking. I'm good at it, I can do it at home, and since I live alone I don't have to please anyone else with the results. There's an extra measure of satisfaction in these tasks for somebody like me, whose work is so ephemeral. When you scour a bathtub, it stays clean (for a while, anyway). When you redecorate a room, it stays redecorated. When you make cookies, they stay made (for a while).

And it so happens that peanut butter cookies are a favorite of my mom's. Her recipe for peanut butter cookies was one of the first ones I put in the green three-ring binder that houses all the recipes I've tried, liked, and want to make again, that are not contained in cookbooks.

So the association with mom and family is very comforting, and I capitalized on that this weekend. Though the recipe's very simple, making peanut butter cookies is a complete sensory experience. They look like no other cookie, with the crossed tines of a fork pressed into the top to start them flattening. The dough is uniquely sticky, and requires fingers to drop it and shape it. It's also sticky enough to produce the distinctive whining sound of my old handheld electric mixer screaming its last. (A friend in St. Louis has multiple spares and is sending one to me.) The aroma and flavor speak for themselves. Every sense was engaged with something that would remind me of home.

All that, and I wound up with a couple dozen cookies to enjoy over the next week or two. What could be better?


At 6:57 AM , Blogger Sam Brady said...

I'm with you on the magic of the crosshatch. My dad makes a huge batch of peanut butter cookies every Christmas. It's one of my favorite holiday traditions, and is one that I intend to extend to my own family as I get older. Good memories and familial associations, and they taste good. too! What a bargain!

At 9:21 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

One could even make the argument that they contain protein and are therefore good for you. It might be a stretch, but worth trying!

At 9:43 AM , Blogger Erin said...

Please, no stretch at all for the trained advocate:
Peanut butter AND eggs are both good protein sources, PLUS in handmade cookies there are no trans-fats, preservatives or articifial colorings or flavorings -- why, those cookies are practically health food :) Especially since you will undoubtedly work off the calories attached to said healthy cookies at the gym in no time at all. Hmmm, since I walk an energetic dog every evening for our mutual exercise, maybe I should make a batch of yummy PBC for myself; now that I've made the case for their general healthitude, I should "walk the walk," right?

At 10:10 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

Of course you should! :-)


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