About a week ago, tired of listening to all the whining, I decided to instate new family rule- the complaint quota. Everyone was entitled to two complaints a day, which seemed more than enough for our comfortable life. However, it was impossible to enforce. I was the first to break the rule and kept up the grumpfest until I used a month’s allowance within a single day. Luckily I have veto privileges.
Instead, we focused on inventing new words. My word was do-waht which means to agree passionately. My middle son contributed maslak- a very long and strenuous trip and my eldest thought of liemh (I’m still not sure how to pronounce it) which is the dry bottom of a piece of cake left in the oven too long. My father however is the greatest virtuoso of words, generating them effortlessly in normal conversation. He has a Dr. Seussian attitude towards language and frequently customizes it to suit his needs. As a child, wewak (it has multiple meanings but most often used in the phase “what’s the wewak?” as a friendly greeting) was used so often I was surprised I didn’t find it in the dictionary.
As I grow older there are some situations that are hard to define. Lately, for example, it feels like I am starring in my very own sitcom, one ludicrous installment at a time. I wonder if there’s a word for that? In the first surreal episode, I noticed our poor little cockatiel plopped at the bottom of the cage, barely breathing. This ended with a midnight visit to the animal hospital where the grim prognosis was given over the racket of exploding hand grenades alternating with the sound of clucking hens. “Oh that’s the parrot in the other room. We rescued it from abusive owners”, the vet explained after noticing our perplexed look. A few days later we received a postcard from in hospital written in bright pink “Please accept our deepest condolences for the loss of your beloved Bald Eagle II (Nesher), your dearest pet….” All I can say about that is for 700 NIS, it should have at least been laminated (the things you do for a child’s pet). RIP Nesher.
In another segment, I found myself persuading my son’s first grade teacher that we were not a social welfare case in need of her sympathy. There was a simple explanation for this. My son has a favorite pair of faded pants he wears almost every other day- as soon as I wash them. I don’t have the heart to throw them away and figure his six year old friends lack enough fashion sense to tease him. What I didn’t anticipate was his concerned teacher who took me aside for a “chat”.
And then there’s this week with sideways rain, crazy sleet, inside out umbrellas, a leaking ceiling and flooded basement. Ordinary errands- the morning school run- for example, becomes a complex mission with me as the drill sergeant. It is not the way I want to start the day. But I consider myself lucky. If the day can be improved with a batch of homemade cookies, things are not that bad. Do-what!
This recipe from Benny Saida’s Cookie book.
2 ¼ cups white flour, sifted
100 grams (3.5 ounces) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 grams (5.3 ounces) cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup (85ml) heavy cream (I used 38% fat)
1 egg yolk
Thick jam such as raspberry, blueberry or apricot. Nutella can also be used for the filling
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C (350⁰F). In a food processor place the flour, sugar, butter, vanilla and pulse until crumbly. Add the heavy cream and egg yolk and continue to pulse until combined. Do not over mix since this will toughen the dough.
Form about 50 small balls from the cookie dough. Place them on a parchment lined baking tray about 5 cm apart. Using your thumb or the back of a small spoon push down on each ball to create a small hollow (1 cm thick, 1.5 cm wide) for the filling. I like to fill the cookies with jam before they are baked but it can be done after as well. If using Nutella, fill the cookies only after baking.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are just beginning to turn golden. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.