A Bubbe and a Peanut Butter Cookie
First snow day is, “Yahoo!!!! Wahooo!!! Waaaaaaaaaah!”
Second snow day is, “Yes! What??!!! No Way!!!! Seriously?? Whahooooo!!”
Third snow day is, “Hey mom, do we have any more bagels?” “Where’s the toilet paper?”
Fourth snow day is, “I don’t have anymore, we are out of that, I know you’re bored!, Have you brushed your teeth? Have I brushed my teeth?! What day is it?”
One of my favorite moments of the polar vortex snow day extravaganza was when my daughter asked me if we could make cookies; cookies with ingredients from our house, not the beautiful plastic wrapped cookie sausage from the market.
Now, as a precursor to this segment - I do not bake. I have learned how to make challah and I love making challah, but it took years before this challah baking process turned into an actual skill with true culinary knowledge of yeast, how it works and why yeast is a sensitive, moody little thing who pretends not to be high maintenance but is type A exactly like Sally in Harry Met Sally.
We found a recipe for sugar cookies. We had most of what was needed and onward we went. Things were going pretty well and then we realized we did not have enough butter. I quickly Googled “Lack of butter in a recipe” and applesauce came up, and I am a mom of three so I should have applesauce SOMEWHERE for goodness sakes so I plopped that in the bowl! Long story short the cookies needed to be rolled out with shape cutters and we didn’t have any so I thought rolling them in a ball like chocolate chip cookies would be fine. After waiting out the designated allotted time for baking these things nothing really happened, and the large balls of sugary floury goodness were not moving much; kind of like mini cookie shaped sand dunes as if in the Moab desert. I envisioned little tiny GI Joe dolls on plastic tiny bikes leaping off of our dough puffs like a child at the helm…..I digress, we needed a plan B.
OR my bubbe.
When I look back it was like a Zac Efron movie, or Tom Hanks in Big, and for a moment my bubbe’s spirit crashed into my soul and I knew what to do! Smoosh those cookies down with a fork and make a waffle criss cross design and all will be okay! Even if I didn’t have any maraschino cherries!
Visiting my bubbe’s apartment was glorious on so many levels that it would take many more pieces of writing to even scratch the surface; but let’s scratch this surface - as the elevator took me up 8 floors (she always had to stay on ‘the top’ so she couldn’t hear footsteps above her) I could smell the brothy, garlicky goodness that encapsulated the whole 8th floor. Upon entering her apartment it was like diving clear into the parts of a movie with psychedelic clips like The Big Lebowski or Pink Floyd’s The WALL; cartoon rainbows carrying us into and onto layers of chaos, personal fantasties and soft, bouncy marshmallow trampolines. My bubbe’s apartment would instantly lure your nostrils into a room of heaven; broth-filled, peanut butter cookie, yeast-filled glory!
This tiny, 4 foot 10’ woman would swallow me into a hug not even a viking could escape and have me immediately push a fork into a circle shape making a waffle criss cross; plop a cherry on top and “Sit down, let’s eat!”
Together this woman and I would eat soup, chicken and potatoes all the while watching COPS on television. She thought those actors were so “Handsome” and she giggled the whole way through. Peanut butter cookies were next, then we fell asleep and all was good in the world.
My daughter got a different version of peanut butter cookies and a maraschino cherry experience. I am not as 4 ft 10’ and squishy and powerful, instinctively wonderful and all knowing about everything comforting as my bubbe; but, we had fun.
Well I did. I was bummed when those circles all came out of the oven, mediocre in taste though fantastic in memory.
Memories happen when we do not pay attention. Memories come back to life when there is no more butter and a child who loves you.
Make cookies, even if they are terrible!!