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Stop the spread


This wonderful poster was designed by my daughter Johanna in an online poster workshop. I am puzzled why so many people are opposed to doing what they can to preserve their health and that of others, especially when it requires so little effort. There are some things, of course, that should spread. Take butter for example. It was only last year that I learned that butter, if kept in a light-blocking butter dish, does not need to be refrigerated. This does make me wonder why those individual pats served in restaurants are rock hard if they could be left out of the fridge long enough to soften before being served. I was touched by the widowed character Shulem, in that Netflix cult favorite Shtisel, when he recalls how his wife used to get up early to take the butter out to let it get warm enough for him to spread it on his toast.


Thinking about stopping the spread also brought to mind chocolate chip cookies. When they are baking it is important to "socially distance" them so that they do not merge into each other. They are, in a way, a good thing to make to stop the spread of our bodies during all of this sheltering in place. Although the recipe makes at least 2 dozen I can bake just a few. The remaining cookie dough I form into balls and freeze on a tray before popping them into a freezer bag. Then I can take out a few and bake them at another time and have fresh baked cookies. I like to think we can spread out our cookie eating and stop our own personal quarantine spread.


We are in the crispy cooky camp, and big fans of Tate's, previously Kate's, cookies. Having demolished the coconut cake we had last week it seemed permissible to bake another indulgence. The one indispensable ingredient seems to be brown sugar and all I could find were some rock hard chunks. If you find yourself in this position, do not despair. The google trick of placing it in a dish, covering with a damp paper towel and microwaving for 20 seconds seems to work. Depending on the power of your oven and the size of your chunk, you might need to repeat this a few times and to scrape the outside softened layer until you get as much as you need. Once you have all your ingredients you can use this recipe for Tate's cookies. I did not notice that the recipe calls for salted butter and used the sweet butter I had on hand. Also, the recipe calls for semi sweet chocolate chips but I always use bittersweet. The other change I made was to use a teaspoon to drop the cookies so that they would not be so big. When I bake the ones in the freezer I might try to remember to drop a few flakes of sea salt on them.




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