♦ Steering Wheels

Dear Shaina,

I am typing on my new MAC PRO – way too much machinery for me.  I had my first one-to-one class today and actually learned how to download all my pictures and even understand a few things about the mysterious cloud. Now, if I could just learn how to take decent pictures.  If its any consolation to you, my videos are worse!

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Its been a tough week…hard to imagine that its been only a week. Gail came home from the hospital today and is healing well from her surgery although she still has a long way to go and there are still more questions to be answered.  All in all, we are feeling very fortunate.

I ran into a friend at the grocery store before the holidays and she said to me, “I am not wishing anyone a ‘Happy New Year’ this year.  I am wishing everyone a ‘Healthy New Year’ because if you are healthy, then you will have happiness”.  As I sat in temple all day yesterday and prayed for good health for all the people I love and care about, those words certainly rang true.

And once again, I am in the midst of a caring community that knows that food is the first line of defense – whenever there is a need for healing and nurturing and care giving. It is a way of doing something when the world ‘smacks us upside the head’ and reminds us that we have no control and that every day is a blessing to be cherished. Sorry for the schmaltz, but it’s just where I am. So, I am coordinating meals and working on schedules and doing whatever mundane things I can do to be helpful because …that is all that I can do.

I do want to say that I think the cleanse has changed the way your father and I experience food. We both felt so satisfied and healthy on the cleanse.  It was like our tastebuds woke up.  We talked about breaking the cleanse at the Break-the-Fast after temple and both of us were excited and hesitant about letting go of the cleanse-glow.  I wanted the potato knishes and Dad couldn’t wait for the desserts…and both were delicious, but the odd thing was…they didn’t give us the kick we thought they would after so many days of “deprivation.”  In truth, I wanted more lemon scented quinoa with kale and roasted tomatoes and crunchy pumpkin seeds (my favorite dish of the week).  So Shaina, thank you for this New Years gift…this cleanse experience really is a gift that reminds us daily to care about our bodies… and right now, that feels like a major gift!

Needless to say, I haven’t had much of a chance to do any new cooking this week.  But I have done a little reminiscing.

I was asked to make a dessert for a party last week and I wanted to make those chocolate cookies that Gail always makes that people love.  I actually originally made those cookies years ago from a recipe I found in a Bon Apetit magazine for Colossal Cookies.  I made them one night for Shabbat dinner.   And just as the recipe had instructed, I made them about 3-4 inches in diameter and they were ‘colossal’.

At the time, Daniel was about 3 years old and already had a taste for chocolate.  He picked up a cookie and said, “These are HUGE! They look like ‘steering wheels’.  Hence, ‘Steering Wheel’ cookies were born and are known by all far and wide as “Steering Wheels” regardless of their size.

Over the years, I lost the original recipe and Gail found another recipe that seemed to be equally satisfying. I got her recipe and made them for the party, but I was still bugged that I couldn’t find the original.  I searched through all my scraps of recipes and found a few errant pages from the Bon Apetit magazine, but no “Gobs of Chocolate” (the original name for these cookies) recipe.  I was crushed!  But, I did learn that the recipe was published in the September 1987 issue (before you were born… in fact, I was just barely pregnant) of Bon Apetit.

To make a long story short, I got all 12 issues of Bon Apetit from 1987 on EBay for $8.00 and they came today!

I know it’s not exactly on the cleanse…which I just went on and on about…but who says I can’t be a little fickle.

Life is pretty fickle…and pretty darn short..so enjoy these original STEERING WHEELS!

All my love,

I realize that I didn’t really respond to your letter in my last letter.   There was so much going on here that I couldn’t focus.  Things have calmed down.  Gail is healing well and her prognosis is good.

Now that I have a few minutes, I do want to tell you how much your letter meant to me.  Having a child, especially a daughter, for me, has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. In truth, you could “yell” (get annoyed) at me all day long, in public or private, and it wouldn’t change my feelings for you  one iota. I actually have a much better understanding of Bubbe’s tolerance of all the “annoyedness” she had to put up with from me and I hope she has forgiven me for it.

I think that this letter correspondence thing is a good thing. When I got the “annoyed” letter, I had to stop and wait a few days to sort out my feelings and then think about what I wanted to say instead of my usual impulsive emotional over-reaction, which is even more annoying. I fully accept your apology and I look forward to many more years of annoying you. And hearing about it.

Sharing the kitchen with you as we prepared for Rosh Hashana was the best. Bubbe, and all the generations of Bubbes that we never had a chance to know, were there in the kitchen with us, marveling at the new twists on their old recipes and intrigued by the myriad of new flavors and foods being prepared for our holiday table.  They were there, kvelling watching our hands as they cut up garlic and onions and threw in a little more basil and mixed up huge shissels (Yiddish for large bowls that are too big to be called ‘large bowls’) of quinoa with kale.  Ingredients they never heard of, so different from the brisket and potatoes of their days…but they recognized the hands. They recognized the skill, the passion and the love in our hands…and so did I.

It wasn’t about “my way is better than yours.” It was about  merging the wisdom of yesterday with the spirit of today and creating a whole that is greater than the sum.  That is what we did in the kitchen this past Rosh Hashana…and I look forward to doing it again and again and again, with YOU …in my kitchen and in yours.

As we start the new year, I wish you health,  ever-evolving and fulfilled dreams, and days filled with life’s blessings.

Oh…and no more bad food pictures from your annoying mother!

All my love,

Steering Wheels

      • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
      • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp baking powder
      • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
      • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/4 tsp vanilla ( i usually add a little more)
      • 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
      • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
      • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips (my addition..why not?!)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine first five ingredients into medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Gently mix in dry ingredients, then all the white, chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Mound dough on baking sheet using 1/3 cup dough for each cookie and spacing 5 inches apart.  With moistened fingers, flatten each mound into a 3-inch round. Bake until cookies are puffed and cracked, 12 – 14 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Cool on a rack.

2 thoughts on “♦ Steering Wheels

  1. Pingback: ◊ Hustle and Hoard | cross counter exchange

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