Baking my way through the pandemic

Humpty Keeping Watch Over The Bread Dough, 2020

Right this very minute I should be checking student work, creating French placement tests, reading an article about how to be a better on-line teacher, meditating, doing yoga stretches, making lesson plans to finish out the year or doing something productive. Instead I am thinking of what to bake next. Oh wait. I already know what I am baking next. I just made chocolate chip cookie dough and it is “resting” in the refrigerator while all that sugar and butter chill. Baking is seeing me through this mess of a world situation. It is my therapy and relaxation all rolled into a lot of flour, vanilla extract, pecans, oatmeal, chocolate, and yeast. And don’t forget the butter. Never forget the butter. (If you are reading this and you use butter substitutes, I don’t think that we could be friends. Acquaintances, perhaps. BFFs, nope. Why bother?)

I am tired of being cooped up in my house. I resent it. And I have a very nice house. I have my little office upstairs, the Ex-Ex works downstairs and we don’t get on each other’s nerves. We go for a nice long walk every day and he doesn’t get aggravated when I want to stop and take photos of flowers. He hasn’t asked me “Who is going to eat all that bread? I can’t and you don’t ever eat much of it.” I love this darling new MacBook Air that my school gave me at the beginning of the school year, but I am beginning to hate it. I just plain hate my chair. It is so uncomfortable, but in a weird way, there is comfort in that. It makes me kind of grouchy to sit in it.

I know damned good and well that I have nothing to complain about. And I feel guilty when I do feel resentful or tired. Vicious circle. So, I will count my blessings…

  • good health
  • monthly paycheck
  • health insurance
  • nice house
  • food aplenty
  • friends who check in with me daily
  • my family’s health
  • work to keep me busy
  • the most amazing spring I can remember
  • birds that sing and I can hear
  • flowers blooming everywhere
  • great students

Our middle school director brought up the Serenity Prayer in one of our meetings a week or so ago…

Reinhold Niebur, Theologian, 1932

I’ve added this to my repertoire when I am feeling anxious and worried about the world.

Now back to my cookies. And filling my house (and Humpty Dumpty- he is pretty empty right now) up with great smells.

a little sea salt sprinkled on the top – sel de Camargue

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes about 4 dozen, depending on size

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar (I use 1/2 cup)

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (1/2 cup for mine)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 eggs

10 oz (about 1-2/3 cups) Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars together on medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated.

Blend in flour about 1/3 at a time. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using, with a wooden spoon. Chill batter for an hour (this is my step).

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place dough on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.

I recommend eating at least one cookie after you have removed them to a wire rack to cool. Warm chocolate chip cookies are good for the soul. Ask anyone.

Bon appétit, to everyone out there. Stay safe. Be smart. Get enough sleep. Thank someone today. Call a friend or family member. Bake something comforting. Eat something delicious and enjoy every last bite.

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