Friday, April 22, 2011

Comfort Cookies

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

                                    ----T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

I don't know if I've indulged myself in sharing my complete and utter devotion to T.S. Eliot with you before, but man do I have a poet-crush.  This crush has lasted for the past 9 years, so I'd be comfortable with saying it's now a deep-seated love, not just a poet crush, but either way, isn't that stanza just beautiful?

The images are gorgeous and tangible and tantalizing.  The verbs at the end of each line sound like a weird recipe.  And lilacs?  The heavens couldn't smell better, all glazed in spring rain.  It captures April perfectly.

But the thing is, I think of this stanza when things get hard throughout the year, not just in the spring, and definitely just not in April, and I think it's because Eliot was perfect in his mixing of nature and emotion and letting the images translate for themselves.

I'll be honest.  This is a hard time for my family, for me, and for some of my friends.  And not just small things like being late for work or for sitting in gum or having a bad hair day.  I'm talking big things, that seem to be made all the more big by being 3,000 miles away from home.  But how can I dwell on the spring rains and the gray and not see all the beauty that's stirring around me?  How can I witness something like multiple trees of flowers spontaneously burst around me and not stop dead in my tracks?  How can I not smile?  And that's when I think of Eliot, and this poem, and that the flowers always come through the rains, and even when it's hard, good things are working deep within.

If I was back home, I'd make a big batch of these Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies for everyone I know, especially my Grandpa, and serve them warm and fresh with an ice cold glass of milk.  We'd play some card games, laugh, tell stories of old hunting and fishing trips around the kitchen table, and forget about the fickleness of spring and the funny way life sometimes is, and sometimes isn't.

Because these cookies are so silly easy, and are so silly good, and so necessary.  Sometimes, just a plate of warm peanut butter cookies are good for more than just a few minutes.  They're good for a lifetime.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

National Grilled Cheese: The Salute

Ladies and gents, I'd like to wish you a (slightly) belated National Grilled Cheese Day!

Just the fact there's a day devoted to the awesomeness of a grilled cheese inspired me to get all crazy on the original concept and concoct my new fave grilled cheese.  Yay for creativity and the original grilled cheeses (cheesus?) that supported it.

I've been a big fan of grilled cheese sandwiches (with tomato soup!) for...I don't know...27 years now?  Seriously. I love me my grilled cheese, my soup, and now, 30 Rock playing on Netflix as I snuggle into a chair with this purest of comfort foods.

With dark German wheat bread, a dash of a cayenne sprinkled over my Naani's Apple Chutney, thin slices of red pear, brie, and some fresh spinach leaves, this sandwich was a beauty.  Also, ridiculously filling.

It's been a gray week, with extreme flashes of warmth and sun...the perfect Grilled Cheese weather, if you ask me.  So join me in saluting our national treasure, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich!