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Find Your Life Raft

1 ½ Cups Flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup butter

1 egg

½ cup peanut butter

¾ tsp. Baking soda

½ tsp. Baking Powder

½ tsp. Salt

Cream together the butter, sugars, and egg. Add peanut butter. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Bake on 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes. Cool.

In times of trial, apparently, I bake. Last night, I took out the Betty Crocker Cookbook my mom gave me in 2003. I have only used it a handful of times over the years, but last night, Betty, my mom, my grandmother, her mother, and on down the line, these ancestral sirens were calling to me. “There is comfort in baking”, they sang. And like a lost sailor at sea, I followed their song. I didn’t know what else to do or where else to go. There was nowhere else to go. And like the sailor treading for his life in the dark and raging waters, any sign of direction is at least a sign of hope.

The first batch I almost burned. I blame it on Alexa. I mean, I told her to set the timer, “Alexa. 9 mins.” It seems she didn’t feel like responding or keeping the time: She too was probably like, “What’s the point?”. Thankfully, over the years, I have a nose for baking which alerts me that it time to take out the baked delicacy I rarely make. Lassie barking, “Now! Now! Now! It is time to take the cookies out now!” When I am in tune to my surroundings, my Lassie-nose is pretty spot on.

Not last night though. First batch overbaked - which made me angry. That was a precious ½ cup of butter in these apocalyptic times. I wonder if my grandmother as a young girl had a dairy cow on her farm in New Holland, South Dakota. A cow until the Dust Bowl hit. Then times got lean. Stories of survival. I don’t know, I’m just using my time to surmise.

I haven’t yet been angry at this pandemic. What is the point of getting angry when a natural disaster hits? I could probably be angry at the lack of foresight, preparedness, and response but I am not there yet. Instead, my heart is just sad. So, yes, the first batch of peanut butter cookies was made sad. But the second batch was made angry. Just me, standing at the Kitchen Aid, my back to the world, rolling little peanut butter balls in anger - for what else is there to do? Where else is there to go?

The 2nd angry batch of peanut butter cookies came out perfect. Light and moist and delicious. The fork criss-cross on the top just like mom’s and grandmom’s and down the line. I’m not sure where we will go from here. How we will evolve? Where I will be called to help? The sirens tell me to keep on baking, cooking, maybe this will be my way to give and to help in the midst of this raging sea. Let me find the other lost sailors, clinging to logs, let me sing the songs our ancestors. Let us cling together and keep one another afloat - one peanut butter cookie at a time.

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