Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Defense against the dark

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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. 

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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. 

36 comments:

  1. You do have cabin fever ... you ate the picture of the cookies?! I've got cabin fever too, but still go outside and clear off any remnants of ice on the drive. I'm obsessed with keeping ice off everything since our ice storm in Dec. But it's good to be outside, even if my dog sits balanced on his bum with all four paws stuck up in the air in a desperate attempt to keep them from freezing. I ignore him till he falls over and only then will I send back indoors. Thank you for sharing this delicious sounding cookie recipe! I made some lemon cookies last week from an old recipe book from my great aunt ... they were SO good & lemony & light. What is it about the freezing cold temps that make us all want to bake cookies from yesteryear? Wendy x

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  2. I don't envy you this dark cold winter. But your cookies sound delicious, I may have to bake some this weekend:)

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  3. Ah, you remind me of my winters in Syracuse. It was the sideways snow that always caught my attention. Your cookies sound great. I have an old recipe from a 60's Betty Crocker book of my mother-in-law's, for a pineapple bread that sounds similar to your cookies. It's really good.

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  4. Well, you may have cabin fever, but I am glad you have not lost your sense of humor, Kristen :) The old picture of me in my Darth Vader puff coat propped up by my snow shovel next to ominous piles of snow in Saugerties, NY, is prominent in my mind at the moment as I try to think of something encouraging to type to you...still thinking...I know! It is just 4 days until Ground Hog's Day! Isn't that cheering :) Or maybe you could distract yourself by stitching some sort of hearts for some of those you love for Valentine's Day. That's just two weeks away! Or maybe you should make another batch of pineapple cookies and take a photo of them before they disappear and post the picture :) xx

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  5. Hey, Make something! You are so talented. I am in Northern Alberta, you can't be much worse than me. I'll give the cookies a try; they sound different.

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  6. Hi, I love your blog, is beauty, I love the colors, I love your crochet, visit my blog too,hugs from Brazil.
    http://www.titacarre.com
    http://elo7.com.br/titacarre

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  7. Oh shame - it really looks desolate with all that snow! Those cookies sound too divine - and I am now going to obsess about them until I get a chance to make some! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. More hugs for you........ I do understand. I'm a California girl, stuck in N Indiana, and it feels like the whole world is stuck in an walk in freezer!! We don't have as much snow here either, just bitter cold , It's been a week since going anywhere, people here are hibernating, no traffic at all. I too am crocheting, cotton wash cloths - endlessly , and working on quilts, while watching PBS
    videos online. I don't see relief anytime soon though, except we're going to Costco tomorrow!

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  9. Okay, that kind of snow is bloody annoying. I can just picture you hitting the gas and plowing through snow drifts to get to a yarn store. Good thing you have a never-ending stash to keep you distracted. The pineapple cookies have my full attention.

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  10. I think it's just crazy how much snow you have out there...hope it will stop snowing so you can get out and buy more yarn ... Just in case you have another storm ( which I hope won't happen) ... Thanks for the recipe, I'm going to try this weekend. :)

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  11. I can't really imagine having that much snow - Could swap you rain for snow though right now, we have way more of that than we need !
    Thank goodness for crochet !
    Stay warm,
    Kate
    justpootling.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. Crochet is such a saviour isn't it!! I hope that you are able to escape to the great outdoors sometime soon. Whatever your squares turn out to be it will be great I am sure! xx

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  13. Sorry it's so cold with you, I do hope it passes soon. The cookies sound delicious, I've written the recipe down, I shall try them and probably also forget to photograph them. Glad you have some yarn to keep you company.

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  14. I also have cabin fever but not because of the weather. I have been organising our house move and packing, packing, endlessly packing. It has now come down to needing to decide what of my yarn stash to keep with me for the last few weeks in our current house and which to let go on into storage ready for the move. Call me silly but its really stressful. What if I suddenly find the need to crochet a 4ply baby coat or 10 aran fisher men hats and the yarn is 170 miles away!! lol! Hope you can get out soon. xxx

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  15. I understand the feeling demented part, just not the cause... Here in Adelaide, South Australia it is 45 degrees. I am over the heat! x Pam

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  16. You ate the cookies already!! He He! I don't blame you. I think I will make these cookies at the weekend.

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  17. Oh yes, it's a cold winter this year. Here in Vermont we are not getting the snow but we are getting the cold! We have barely been out of the teens in weeks and getting negative numbers every night! But us hardy northern folk persevere, knitting, baking breads & cookies, tracking where the sun comes up every morning noting it is moving further northward in its track gives me hope that spring will be here soon.

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  18. it's cold here too, but not nearly as much snow

    I'm ready for Spring!

    how do the chickens do in such frigid cold?

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  19. I know how you must feel. The basement of our house feels like walking into a cave with all the snow piled up against the windows; but with the blinds closed and the lights on and your pineapple cookies (which sound delicious), maybe, just maybe I can pretend there are palm trees waving in the wind outside!?!

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  20. I am randomly crocheting squares, using up pale pastel wools found at the bottom of the basket, making... well, it will probably be a baby blanket to go to the charity shop since I don't have pastel shades in the house. And now can't recall what I bought this for either! The cookies sound really good, but what is the difference, for a Brit, between baking soda and baking powder?

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    1. I have to admit, I didn't know the difference either, so I looked it up--they are both leavening agents, but baking soda needs an acidic component in order to create gas (for bubbles and thus the rising) and baking powder is just baking soda with the acidic component already added in. I guess the pineapple in this recipe is the acidic component, thus the extra baking soda? Anyway, that's the answer--thank you for asking, because I learned something, too! :)

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    2. Baking soda=bicarbonate of soda in UK. I am just wondering if shortening=butter?

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    3. Butter could sub for shortening, but your cookie would not be as soft. How 'bout margarine? Do you have that?

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  21. Yes, Kristen, this is a very tough winter. Most of our recent snows didn't last too long in NYC, because of all the determined city snow plows and urgent shoveling of sidewalks, but the Cold just won't go away. It's a thrill when the temp rises almost to the freezing point. Rumor has it that we just might see a day above freezing tomorrow...or at least a span of hours that are that warm.

    I try to limit my time outdoors. Waiting for subway trains on chilly underground concrete platforms is quite a chore if the wait is longer than five minutes.

    Brrrr!

    I've never before heard of pineapple cookies...thank you for the introduction.

    Cooking, crocheting, knitting are all good January activities that will most likely be helpful in February. xo

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  22. Hang in there! Spring will eventually arrive (I think!). I don't have to deal with the snow but it's too cold to go outside so I'm doing the same thing, crocheting like a maniac. Thanks for the recipe. Stay warm :-)

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  23. Hi there - I'm intrigued as to how you are joining those little squares - small stitches at three points? Could you let me how? Would appreciate it.
    thanks

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    1. They're joined using Lucy's famous method, found here: http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/joining-asyougo-sqaures.html

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  24. Sounds like you're ready for Spring already. Those pineapple cookies sound yummy and I've already added tin of crushed pineapple to my shopping list for tomorrow - thanks for sharing the recipe Kristen!
    Keep warm!
    Gill xx

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  25. For some reason your blog was deleted from my reading list! The horror, I am so glad I figured that out and am back on track. Winter is the pits if you ask me, well summer in Florida is too. I am even cold here today high of 43 and rain, damp, gray skies. I know you are laughing right now, but for us we are frozen.
    Hugs and stay warm,
    Meredith

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  26. Thanks for the laugh! When you talked about plowing your car into the snowbank in disgust I laughed out loud in solidarity! I am feeling your pain! I am sick of snow... it is no longer fun or exciting... it has come to the point ( it happens every winter) where I am sick of snow! I don't want to shovel it ANYMORE!!! and the cold! Can I say I am positive I no longer want to retire to Maine... ( that actually was a thought at one time, it must have summer when I thought about it...) I just want to feel the warm Spring sun on my face warming me all over... please...soon... :) Stay warm :)

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  27. I've started and unravelled: a rippleghan, and a granny shawl, some granny squares, a few hexagons. There's a completed sock around here somewhere, but I need to knit it's mate. I'm not accomplishing anything, but you are right…it is a balm. 3 degrees in VA when I woke this morning; Northerners who've retired here keep asking me if it's always this cold. I say no, hardly ever, and then it snows again. Misery!

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  28. You are so right, it has worn on everyone around that I know of, My sister who is a postal carrier in Wyoming and I, living in Iowa are quite tired of the unrelenting cold and the howling winds!! I get to stay in most days, she does not, so I commiserate with her to buck up her spirit!! couldn't stop laughing over the cookies, so I have printed it off and will make some too!! thank you

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  29. I try to never complain of winter, since it's my favorite month of all. I do spend way to much time complaining of summer in my head. I just don't thrive in heat and humidity.

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  30. Your writing makes winter come alive a little bit for this Houstonian. I used to live in Boston, but sometimes you forget what the cold is like when you are used to eight months of summer. For me, more wearying than the cold, in my opinion, was snow upon snow upon snow and how it points its finger at you in requirement of extra effort. I hope spring comes quickly for you!

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  31. Snow sounds like heaven after all the heat we're having Down Under, but I guess it's not fun being IN it! I'm so over this relentless heat, day after day of brilliant sunshine (washing is dry in an hour!!), hot dry days (watering the garden is a real chore now), and warm sleepless nights. And there's still another month, at least, to go! We're never happy are we??!!

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  32. Those pineapple cookies sound amazing! My grandmother made pineapple pie, which I have been the only other one to make since her. These remind me of the pie :) I think they'll be a good substitute for when I'm not interested in making the pie but want that flavor. Thanks for the great recipe!

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