Of Cookies and Colds


It was the beast. I heard it. It was calling me. It has been calling me all week, but somehow I had managed to stiffen my emotions against its plaintive call. Until tonight.

This kitchen beast can be quite frightening; in fact, it can break your fingers without a second thought if you don't treat it right. But the only people who remain utterly terrified by the beast are those that don't truly understand it. Sure it growls when you're working with it, but the KitchenAid breed is a very old breed, and they just tend to do that. And it isn't in fact quite a growl; it's more like a giant purr of pleasure and satisfaction. So as long as you keep your fingers out of its whirling teeth, working with the beast is actually quite rewarding.

I had neglected the beast for a whole week. The beast doesn't like that. It is, in fact, quite a time-consuming companion, demanding my attention at the very least, once a week. Less than that, and it gets quite grumpy indeed. The beast's favorite time of year is at Christmas when I'm out of school and caught up in the Christmas baking spirit, but that is beside the point.

It seems I have two beasts in my life right now. The other beast - the energy-sapping type - I've been spending quite a bit of time with this past week. Maybe that's why my KitchenAid beast was so jealous. Anyway, this other beast happens to like it when I have to sleep a lot, and my throat hurts, and my eyes swell up so I look like I've been crying for the past week (which in fact I haven't). I don't really like this other beast, but it insists on staying at my house every time it's in town, and it seems inhospitable and rude to refuse (although I have to admit, I make its stay as unpleasant as possible). This week I had managed to be at least civil to the beast. Until tonight.

Tonight my KitchenAid beast's pleas became too touching to ignore any longer. In one last defiant act before that cold-hearted other beast unleashed its coup de grâce on my failing spirit, I abandoned it in favor of my KitchenAid beast.

It was a happy night. I started with no plan but to bake with my nose. In retrospect, that probably wasn't the best idea since I have no idea whether my nose works or not. Anyway, no expense was spared in that final desperate effort. Out came the treasured Mexican pure vanilla extract as well as the Vietnamese cinnamon. Orange oil, almond extract, cloves and the sweet, unspoiled unsalted butter worked their magic in my beast, calming and pacifying it. By the time I added a little bittersweet chocolate, it was in a heaven of spicy, sweet, bitter and tangy smells. It was gratified. I was happy. That other beast seemed far away.

I did make one mistake, the consequences of which are yet to be determined. I ate a cookie. I haven't eaten a cookie all week in protest of that other beast's rude and uninvited stay in my house. I hope it didn't notice. After all, it's probably so distracted by my desperate act of defiance against its coup de grâce... wait... I think I got that wrong. The real desperate act of defiance against its coup de grâce that threatens to extinguish my failing spirit is not eating the rest of the cookies. That would be good. Maybe it would get tired of the opposition and leave. Then I could go back to spending time with my KitchenAid beast.

He would like that.

So would I.