Sugar Cookie Moments
It is my pleasure to introduce my latest guest columnist, Iris Ruth Pastor. Iris is the author of two books, Slices, Bites and other Facts of Life and The Secret Life Of a Weight Obsessed Woman. She also pens a weekly newsletter, “Preserving Your Bloom: Being the Best Version of Yourself.” Iris is well-known in the Tampa community and throughout the United States on all topics related to mid-life and baby boomers, including tattoos, though she graciously declines the opportunity to get one. She is a wife, mother and grandmother.
In this post-holiday column Iris shares those very special “sugar cookie moments” of life. The author helps us all to recognize, define and savor those moments throughout the year. In 2022 I will do my best to follow Iris’ advice to define and savor “sugar cookie moments.”
Iris can be reached at irisruthpastor.com, where you can sign up for her weekly newsletter and at firstname.lastname@example.org. Iris and I welcome your comments at this site, email: jaynelisbeth.author.wiwc@gmail or through Iris’s contacts above. Her "Sugar Cookie Moments" column was originally published on irisruthpastor.com, December 24, 2021. Her books can be purchased through her website.
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“Christmas, in a more universal sense, is about goodwill…it is about the joy that we can experience even in difficult times.”
These are not my words. They were spoken by the Rev. Adam Taylor of Sojourners when he was a recent guest on the Braver Angels Podcast.
Christmas is upon us and there have been plenty of difficult times lately: tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, Covid, food insecurity, runaway inflation…that’s all the more reason for us to cultivate moments of bliss and benevolence when and where we can.
I call these mini-flashes of delight SUGAR COOKIE MOMENTS. And they all emanate from the modest beginnings of the sugar cookie itself.
The cultivation of sugar and the origins of sugar cookies coincide, dating back to the 7th century in Persia. Folklore suggests it was the brainchild of a busy Middle Eastern baker who decided to sell, rather than discard, the small batter cakes he used to test the temperature of his cooking oven.
In the U.S. the first sugar cookie as we know it- round, crumbly and buttery - was created by Protestant settlers in the Nazareth colony of Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Since those humble beginnings, sugar cookies popularity has soared. According to Cookie Trivia, Americans consume over 2 billion cookies a year, about 300 cookies for each person. The average American eats 35,000 cookies in a lifetime.
My definition of a sugar cookie moment is very much similar to the definition of the sugar cookie itself: composed of the most basic of ingredients and easily shapeable. And, its occurrence may not appear as wildly meaningful or profoundly significant due to it’s shroud of simplicity.
It’s basic in nature
It often appears unremarkable, devoid of frills and pomp
It often goes unacknowledged at the time.
But, SUGAR COOKIE MOMENTS are, in retrospect:
Perpetual nourishment for the soul
Sugar Cookie Moments don’t necessarily include buying someone something. Expensive, unique, practical or particularly useful or even frivolous-many times we simply connect a perfect moment around finding the perfect gift for that special someone in our lives. Hence, my mention of this as we hit the magical milestone tonight of Christmas Eve.
In my quest this holiday season to find the “perfect” gift for each of my grandkids, I asked my own adult children and my two grown nieces what they remember most about my parents.
And not one - not one - mentioned a gift.
Here are their comments:
Going out to lunch with each of my grandparents.
Every year for as long as I lived at home, going to Opening Day with my grandfather to see the Cincinnati Reds play ball.
Getting “good naturedly” or sometimes “not so good naturedly” fired every time I walked in late to my grandfather’s office, where I worked during high school.
Every 3rd week, my grandfather and I would get our hair cut together and then go out to breakfast - where I could pour as much syrup as I wanted on my stack of pancakes.
My grandmother and I would like to get “lost” (meander around without a definite purpose) and go for lunch and ice cream.
My grandmother used to take me shopping for school supplies and clothes every year before school started. And my Grandpa would take my brothers and I on appraisals on the weekends. I knew the definition of adverse position and diminishing marginal utility before I could multiply.
When we were in the car together, I remember my Grandpa always singing the songs he sang when he was an eighteen year-old Cadet in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
My favorite memory was spending the night at my grandparents’ house. I loved the TV tables that we used so we could eat and watch television at the same time. And I was always captivated by my grandmother’s experiences she had growing up and living through the war. Sometimes I still hear her voice and laugh. And it soothes me.
Amidst the tearing of wrapping paper and the cutting of ribbons, let’s glory in the fact that not only does contentment come from things, but from experiences.
So, if your holiday present fails to hit the mark and or does not bring gales of enthusiasm and hearty hails of appreciation, don’t despair. Instead focus on providing over the next twelve months SUGAR COOKIE MOMENTS - moments that matter.
Here’s my Christmas present to you: a sugar cookie recipe to accompany those sugar cookie moments. May you have many - good cookies and sweet memories - in the coming year.
Keep Preserving your Bloom,
Iris Ruth Pastor
SUGAR COOKIES Here’s a recipe for soft and chewy sugar cookies. Take just minutes to make, these cookies are composed of ingredients you may already have in your kitchen! Adapted from handletheheat.com. Ingredients · 2½ cups (318 grams) all-purpose flour · 2 teaspoons baking powder · 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt · 2 sticks (226 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature · 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup (50 grams) for rolling · 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk · 1 teaspoon almond extract Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. 3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter and 1¼ cups sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture. 4. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a shallow dish. Using a large (3-tablespoon) spring-loaded scoop, divide the dough into balls, then roll in sugar to coat evenly. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart, and flatten slightly with the bottom of a measuring cup. 5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies set and begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Iris’s Note: This recipe made me 27 cookies and I actually baked them for 14 minutes to get them brown around the edges. And I don’t think my scooper was that big.