I've been baking cookies--Butterscotch Bars, the easiest cookie recipe ever, the one I pull out when I need something quick and tasty for a gathering. The recipe is here.
The cookie baking put me in mind of a funny incident at the office earlier this week. I had a plastic container open on my desk. My colleague said, "Are those cookies?"
I held up the piece of broccoli I was eating. "No. Broccoli."
He wrinkled his nose. "Not cookies."
I said, "Wait, it's worse. It's old broccoli. It's broccoli I'm trying to eat up before it goes bad."
And yes, I know how pathetic that sounds.
But wait--it's worse. It's broccoli that I paid much too much for. I went to the Fresh Market, and I bought a bunch of broccoli, the only one in the pile that I thought was worth any money at all. That broccoli had seen better days.
So, I bought a bunch and later, I stopped by a Doris Italian Market. I could have gotten much better broccoli for a much lower price. Sigh.
So, if you're wondering why I forced myself to eat broccoli that was far from its best days, it's because I was already annoyed with myself for paying too much.
Paying too much and then throwing away--that would really make me mad at myself.
How much more I love baking--the kitchen activity which so rarely disappoints--unless you count the extra calories which can lead to extra pounds. But I've gotten better at moderating that in the last few years.
Perhaps it's because I'm using wine these days to soothe my anxieties and to celebrate the end of the day. I used to end the day with extravagant baked goods that I'd made--along with ice cream. And more baked goods. Now, if I'm eating those kinds of calories--and it's much more rare--I try to do it earlier in the day, so that I have more hours to burn it off.
And yes, hopefully some day I will become the kind of evolved person who doesn't need food or wine to soothe my anxieties or celebrate the end of the day.
Or do I? Certainly I'd like a better way of processing anxiety.
But it's hard to think I'll ever want to completely abandon the practice of celebrating with food and wine. That impulse is deeply rooted in our collective humanity--and likely for a reason.
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