It's interesting to note what inspires people and how inspiration and motivation can often be interpreted as one and the same thing. Maybe they are the same thing. In reality at least. I think that adversity and/or the negative experiences we go through tend to inspire and motivate me more than the positive ones. Sad but true. I would venture to say that this is the case for more of us than we would care to admit.
The western world has been motivated to assemble in unity against terrorism and for freedom from censorship. I had the odd experience of all of this outcry not quite sitting right with me. Not being sure exactly why I felt odd about it, I started to let myself dwell on the situation and the issues that have arisen around the Paris incident. Rolling it around, here is where my thoughts have gone up to now:
- Is freedom from censorship the same thing as freedom of speech?
- We talk about how powerful words are all of the time. Our words affect people and can illicit a strong response - sometimes we can determine that outcome and sometimes we can't. When does what we say become translated as hate?
- We censor ourselves all of the time - every single day. Journalists, artists, writers, researchers... you name it. That censorship is based on the acceptable social norms currently in existence. There are certain people groups and religious groups that I would never even consider writing negatively about. However, that might not have been the case 75 short years ago.
- No one should have to die for the things that those in the Charlie Hebdo offices died for. Full stop.
I started to articulate what I was thinking to D. I thought that maybe I was crazy to even be thinking this way. Turns out that D, while not asking exactly the same questions, was definitely rolling things around as well. He forwarded this article to me from The Intercept. As I was reading it, I found myself feeling so thankful that I wasn't alone in feeling odd about this whole thing, I wasn't crazy either and that someone out there had managed to articulate their thoughts in a much more logical and concise way than I could have. I'm not done stewing about this for sure but there are other things that are just as concerning... what about these guys? Shall we march?
Look, cookies certainly are not at the top of the news food chain. World crisis will not be widely affected by the baking of two more dozen cookies. Still I make cookies. Maybe I bake cookies for the same reason others watch reality tv or awards shows - for the record, I can't even force myself to sit through either one. We do it to feel normal. We do it because it helps us lose ourselves in something else.
Full disclosure: I found that the cookies I made were a little too clementine overwhelmed. The maple will be subtle no matter what (sometimes I wonder why I use maple syrup at all when I'm baking) but mine just turned into clementine cookies with a couple of weird bacon sprinkles on the top. I have adjusted the amount of zest accordingly... feel free to add vanilla as well to round it out more.
Clementine, bacon and maple (?!) sugar cookies adapted from here
makes about 2 dozen
2 cups icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 lg egg
1 tsp grated clementine or orange zest (no more than that!)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
3 strips bacon - cooked until very crisp, drained and broken into small pieces
Combine the flour, salt and nutmeg together and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the icing sugar and butter. Beat together until creamy.
Add the egg and clementine zest and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Continue to beat on low and slowly add the flour mixture. Beat only until combined.
Divide the dough into two portions. Roll each portion into 3 inch round logs. Cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 370°F
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicon liner.
Slice each log into 1/4 inch discs. Place the discs on the lined cookie sheet leaving some room between each for spreading while baking.
Bake for about 7 - 8 minutes.
Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Beat together the egg white, icing sugar and maple syrup until creamy.
Pour about a tsp of icing on top of each cookie and immediately sprinkle with a little of the bacon (might want to press the bacon down just a little to wedge it into the icing)
Leave cookies for a while to let the icing get solid.
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- Wanda Thorne
- St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
My Favourite Cookbooks
- Wanda Thorne
- bok choy
- coconut milk
- cream cheese
- goat cheese
- green peas
- ice cream
- main course
- maple syrup
- peanut butter
- poppy seeds
- quick bread
- root vegetable
- side dish
- smoked salmon
- sour cream
- split peas
- stir fry
- sustainable living
- vanilla bean
- white chocolate