I have been baking cookies since the beginning of quarantine, but over the last month I have been stress and sadness-eating them like I’m auditioning to play Cookie Monster in a local theater production that will never see the light of day because we’re never going to sit in the dark with coughing strangers again, are we?
Anyway. I’ve been baking while A watches The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and over the sound of the mixer, she yells questions like:
“ELIZABETH! WHAT’S A BRIS?!”
A is the smartest person I know, but her Catholic school must have skipped the history book chapter on Judaism.
So I’ve been baking a shit ton of cookies. This isn’t even all of them.
I’ve really leaned hard into tahini during quarantine—it’s so good! Especially in cookies. And because it’s made from sesame seeds, you can delude yourself into thinking that it’s healthy!
Even though deciding that something must be healthy doesn’t mean it actually is healthy, like people suddenly going out to restaurants or not wearing masks because I guess we just decided that the pandemic is over because we’re all tired of it? You know who isn’t tired? Like, at all? The actual goddamn virus.
I got this recipe from the New York Times in between reading upsetting charts and projection graphs of deaths and infections and job loss, so thanks for balancing that out, guys. I’ve never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t like, but these are especially delicious. The recipe calls for tahini (thank goodness I panic-bought four jars!), which gives it a flavor boost that can’t be described or resisted, and about 2/3 of a bag of chocolate chips, but I just dumped the entire bag in there and said “Pandemic rules!”
I’ve made so many chocolate chip cookies. Shit is getting too real.
There’s this fireworks company that has giant billboards all over the freeways, their mascot is a cartoon monster or ghost or something, it doesn’t matter, but I drove past one of the billboards and the mascot is now wearing a little cartoon mask. You know, so we believe that this fireworks company is committed to public health and safety when actual human limbs are blown off every Fourth of July by their products.
Oh my god, what’s going to happen in July?
Anyway. My sister’s new favorite cookies are alfajores, Argentinean cookies with dulce de leche filling and covered in powdered sugar. In the interest of infection control, I put them together while wearing gloves and it turns out that handling dulce de leche and powdered sugar with plastic gloves leads to a sticky disaster (how did it get on my FEET?), but it was worth it.
It’s lot of sugar packed into one cookie. My sister credits them with powering through her days working from home—”I’m typing with one hand and scrolling with the other!”
I can’t stop scrolling either. One of my childhood heroes, who provided some of the brightest light during my darkest moments growing up, gave me a key for making friends and made us all feel like we had a place to belong in a more magical world, is a monster. And it turns out she’s the worst kind of monster, the kind of monster who claims to care about the very people whose humanity she denies.
The kind of monster who sees a global moment of grief and fear and pain and says, “How can I make this about ME?”
The kind of monster who knows that people—especially children, especially those who feel unseen and unvalued by the world and just need the tiniest bit of kindness and validation to believe in themselves, because that’s what her fucking books are about—look to her and take to heart every banal thing she says, and she made the choice to use that power as a weapon against every member of a profoundly vulnerable population.
You know, like Voldemort!
And in what universe does writing children’s books automatically earn you the title of “world-renowned expert on gender identity?” You can’t even create a sport that makes logical sense.
Whew. Baking can only lower my blood pressure so far.
I’ve also attempted two different kinds of Linzer cookies—the normal kind with raspberry jam, and the fancy chocolate kind with a filling of melted chocolate chips and top name contender for my imaginary second child (Kardemummabullar will need a sibling!) . . . TAHINI!
Don’t even get me started on the fact that apparently white people just realized that racism exists and kills people every single day and we should all be in the streets about it? I mean, I love watching white male talk show hosts cry but that’s not going to get legislation passed.
It might not come as a surprise that I’ve been cracking eggs with such force that they actually splatter across the kitchen wall.
A is almost done with Mrs. Maisel. Catholic school didn’t teach her anything about LGBT history either.
“WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP CALLING THIS MAN ‘JUDY GARLAND?'”
“Because ‘Judy Garland’ is ’60s code for being gay!”
“JUDY GARLAND IS A GAY THING?”
Happy Pride to us!