Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Lanyard

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

by Billy Collins

Chocolate-Coconut White Chip Cookies

Makes about 18 large cookies. They are best served warm from the oven.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 stick plus 6 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter 
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 scant cup of white chocolate chips
1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugars until blended with an electric mixer. Beat in egg, extra yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in chips and coconut.
4. Roll dough into rounded tablespoons and place each ball of dough 2 1/2 inches apart. 
5. Bake, reversing the position of the cookie sheets halfway through baking. Cookies should begin to crisp around the edges but the centers should still be soft and puffy. Remove from the oven after 15-18 minutes. Cool cookies on a cool counter or rack on the parchment paper. Enjoy!

Warning: These cookies may cause incontrollable moon-walking.

Recipe by Cristina Paul

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries [including this blog]
- Mark Twain