DON'T FORGET TO LAUGH
Love in a Time of Cheese Wafers
How much love can be baked into a cheese wafer? Does the pecan nestled on top add to the emotional capacity of the crispy disk of yumminess?
These thoughts were pondered as I mixed cheese, butter salt and the toxic flour. Well, maybe not exactly toxic, but this Celiac treated wheat flour as if it were Anthrax. The risk is worth it if these goodies make my son Jesse happy.
My dear youngest is a student is some foreign land called Michigan. It must be near Siberia because the weather seems to be the same. The beginning of every phone conversation is the same. I ask, “How’s the weather.” Jesse relies, “Cold.” Of course, the next question is, “Do you have snow?” Between August 1 and June 30, the answer is “Yes.” He no longer knows the depth of the snow, because as he puts it, ” I quit looking.”
I picture my baby plodding through blizzards, wearing snow shoes and looking for a TomTom to kill for warmth. He says the only problem is climbing over walls of snow lining the road, left by the snow plows.
I want to hug my child and keep him warm. Skype doesn’t even come close. So, I bake his favorite foods. The first package of lemon bars was sent over a weekend in warm weather. When I asked if he had received the lemon bars, his reply was “Oh, that’s what that is.” Evidently the jellyish top and blended with the cookie bottom creating a plastic bag of yellow-brown goo. He didn’t have to worry about the roommate stealing any.
During the summer I sent several packages of okra, both green and red, from the Davidson Farmers’ Market. Then Jesse, even while on the northern side of the Mason- Dixon, was able to fry up one of his favorite foods. He educated a few friends about the yummy vegetable. (One thought okra was a fish. Perhaps, he confused the green pod with an Orca, which, well, isn’t a fish either )
Now, as Christmas approaches, it means exam time for Jesse. So, I send a bundle of bought cookies, small silly gifts, and, most importantly, homemade cheese wafers. It is these that hold the emotions from mother to son.
Of course, baked treats can transfer emotions to lovers, friends, and our four-legged companions. Those of us who go into the zone while baking know this to be true. There is a deep need to beat butter till creamy and light in color and stir in the flour and cheese ‘til just blended. It is instinct to provide nourishment for our offspring.
Blame evolution as each pecan nestled on top gives another sigh of satisfaction. We bake because it is a way of showing we care.
That’s why tins filled with colorful sugar cookies, fudge, and date balls are offered during the holidays. If the recipe was handed down through the generations, the potential for holding love is that much greater.
I know Jesse would laugh at this idea. But I swear, one day when mankind discovers a way to gauge emotional wavelengths, they will see love being kneaded in with the dough and with every spoonful dropped on the cookie sheet.
This past Saturday, Jesse called. He had received the box of goodies. My favorite quote of the year, “I wish you had been here when I opened the box.” Why?” I asked. “When I saw what was in it (cheese wafers), I let out a noise that was barely human.”
I grinned into the phone. Yep, love hits you like that.
Carol Wilber Bradfield
Carol Wilber Bradfield is one of those "Lake People." She snuck into Davidson many years ago when someone left the gate open one night. If seen, please approach carefully and give her a hug... and cash if you have it. Lots of cash. Thank you.