How I regained the day with bulging blueberry cookies


I wrote this on Tuesday April 5th.  It is the very beginning of my summer of fun and freedom. Josh is currently on a train from Madrid to Seville, and I am also I to be preparing later today for the same trip to meet him tomorrow, followed by a drive together across the West country of Spain (the Extremadura) across to Lisbon, Portugal. That’ll be country number 50 for me!

But today, let’s talk about a much closer area of interest: food, and cooking food. According to Michael Pollen, Americans have reduced the amount of time spent preparing a meal by 50% to something around 65 mins per day since 1965 [fact check: yes this is correct – but cooking now includes any form of assembly of constituent parts. Also, if journalists weren’t solely focused on the American population, we could all learn a bit about ourselves. In all probability, other countries aren’t faring quite so badly as America].

But if the food industry has stepped in to take away the burden of cooking from us to give us back an extra hour in our days, why is there such a proliferation of food blogging, food journalism and food-based information?

Perhaps it is because cooking is slipping so rapidly from the kitchen and skills may be disappearing from this generation as we speak, just as many languages die every day. So we find many voices clamouring to retain them. Or maybe cooking is so rarefied already it has become part of the sub-culture. It’s minor enough of a sport to be hip. Kind of worrying. Or perhaps these same food writing outlets mirror the piece of ourselves which refuses to hand over the rolling pin to a manufacturing company. Not to be too shrill, but at the end of the day that’s a balance sheet baking our pastry. Time and a place for everything, but I’d rather have more control over what I eat.

I might add that I write this on the morning of the third day of my Epic Summer Of Fun and Freedom! Day three of one hundred and twenty. Yikes. So, yesterday I slouched on the sofa and watched Monty Python! I communed with my teenage self. This is the stuff dreams are made of. I achieved nothing, and this was probably much needed, but I did feel a bit terrible in some way.

That was until, late in the day, I had the urge to bake a batch of cookies – soft blueberry walnut cookies to be precise. I borrowed the recipe from the fantastic paleOMG site. Here’s the recipe. Side note – the way I made them, they were too soft. Next time I must add more almond flour or some kind of rice or oat flour (too much almond flour makes me feel heavy in the stomach) and mix with coconut flour (more digestible), and possibly more walnuts for flavour and bite. I could also try making them with grass fed Kerrygold butter instead of coconut oil. Anyway, the cookies made me feel a lot better about the day and not just because they tasted good. As I got ready for bed (a simple repositioning of the duvet from the sofa to the bed), the last thing I did in the evening was pack those 10 little biscuits into a box, snap a rubber band around them and send a message to my husband to let him know there would be treats upon his return. The cookies bulged out of the sides. Josh has an ability to select the exact sized container for anything – including spheres and liquid, but not me. Despite the bulging I had regained some control, a small sense of achievement, and sense of giving, even if I stored that gift to April 11th.

To return to what I was saying before about the prevalence of baking, and the probable rise of food blogging, it’s hard to say if there really is a resurgence in cooking and making food, or if technology simply shines a brighter light, or if the same people are showing and telling progressively louder. But I can relate to the desire to show and tell, and to make. It’s good to feel creative. A simple batch of overly soft cookies can convert a day that otherwise consisted only of Monthy Python and a duvet, into a triumph. And if we record these triumphs, then perhaps life can be savoured a little longer. It’s good to create, think, share, and pause a little.

If I may add a final parting thought, I have written here about blueberry cookies, but this was a tough choice. The other contender was a post about shelling and deveining 50-60 shrimp to make Tom Yum soup from scratch. I would have called the entry, “my fingers became shrimps”.






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