The main character in my manuscript bakes for a living. Baking has always been her solace, her comfort. And it's not the eating part of the baking. It's the creation, the alchemy of bringing together disparate parts to create a whole. The act of actually being able to create something out of nothing, create something wonderful when there is nothing wonderful in plain sight.
I understand that (yeah, duh!, I'm writing the story) feeling. Baking and cooking are that magical way of creating sustenance, creating gifts for those around us. Both are creative, slightly magical, and fulfilling, even if the taste is a bit off sometimes. I have had stupendous flops in the kitchen, but also, I've had the most amazing pleasures, much of the pleasure coming from watching those who eat what I made.
Unlike any other creative act, the rewards of cooking are immediate. Taste and texture and smell and being able to give that to someone else.
Yesterday on the way home, we stopped at the Big Sur Bakery and I bought a ginger scone. This scone was amazing. It wasn't too sweet, though it has chunks of crystallized ginger in it. It wasn't too airy but dense, rich in ginger flavor. It was buttery, but I couldn't taste butter on my tongue really. No oily or fatty texture. Sitting out facing the Ventanna wilderness, listening to those quail doing their little gobble in the bracken, I was in heaven. I was with my love, sitting in the sun, eating something wrought out of parts. Such a wonderful feeling, all around.
I don't have the ginger scone recipe, but I do have a recipe that I've put in my manuscript, one that comes down from my great-grandmother's side of the family. I hope one day you find yourself biting into one of these cookies with great pleasure:
Grandmother’s Sugar Cookies
My sons have eaten these by the tub full. By the pound. They’ve eaten them right out of the oven, while cooling, while frozen. They are melt-in-your mouth good. This is a recipe handed down from my Great-Grandmother Gertrude, and I think it came from generations of women before her. Enjoy.
1 C sugar
½ C butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 T cold water
2 ½ C flour
1 t vanilla
½ t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar
½ t salt
Cream butter and sugar; add beaten egg, water, and vanilla. Sift flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt together. Add to other mixture and mix well. It’s best if you pat dough into rounds, cover with plastic wrap, and chill dough for an hour to 24 hours.
When chilled, roll very thin and cut with cutters (you know, the Santa kind, the reindeer kind). If you are not going to frost the cookies, sprinkle with sugar and then cut. Bake at 400 degree for 5-8 minutes. Do not let brown past the very lightest golden brown. Cool for a minute and then remove from pan and cool on racks... Frost or eat, it’s up to you. When I make a frosting, I mix powdered sugar with milk to a thin spreading consistency and then sprinkle with nonpareils and other decorative sugars.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org