Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Defense against the dark


This winter rages.  The kind of cold happening here, happening for days upon days, is the kind of cold where you can’t think about anything else.  The wind howls and hurls granular snow into the side of the barn, whining ominous against the clapboards, trying to come in.  We hunker.  Venturing outdoors is dangerous.  (I’m thinking specifically of a day in July when it was so hot it felt scary, and I wonder if I’m at that point now, where all I do is complain about the weather.  I’m always waiting for whatever it is that isn’t currently happening.) I can’t believe I ever wished for snow.  At first, snow feels fun.  It looks pretty, and it makes me all rosy-cheeked as I lean heartily upon my snow shovel, clearing the driveway and making my way in this barren place, pushing back at nature.  After the tenth storm, though, flanked by snow heaps six feet high, I just give up and blast my car backwards through the drifts in the driveway, cursing and swearing as I lurch into a snowbank and get stuck.  I know I am mostly preaching to the choir here, but yo.  I’m cold.  Must get at some yarn, pronto. 


Making the best of it, which is the only thing there is to do, I crochet aimlessly.  That up there is not a project.  There are no plans for it to become anything.  That is just a bunch of mismatched squares in a disheveled palette of leftovers that were not so much chosen as scavenged, and hooked up in a kind of panting desperation.  I am crocheting medicinally, as a balm for this tremendous case of cabin fever.  I feel frantic to look at something that isn’t the inside of my living room, so I start and start and start projects, unravel other projects.  I listen to banjo music on NPR, I make soup out of whatever I can find in the fridge—leeks, spinach, milk, butter—and bake Grandma’s Pineapple Cookies, which are so soft and tender they bend when you pick them up, and melt on your tongue.  They will all be eaten in a day.  I don’t know where Grandma got this recipe, but it was preserved by my dear Auntie K, who loved the Pineapple Cookies enough to write it all down and pass it along to me.  Auntie K is gone now, and Grandma is almost 97.  These cookies make me think of them both.  Want to make some?  Sure, here you go:

Grandma’s Pineapple Cookies

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup soft shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple.

Combine and mix.  Drop on a cookie sheet.  Mix 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp sugar, and sprinkle on top.  Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. 


I’d show you a picture of them, but I ate them all already.