Not long ago, when I was a student, I would do anything, including cooking, not to study. I know what you are thinking, ‘Been there, done that’. Well, on this sunny Sunday I had nothing to do (only because it was the seventh day, i.e. the day for rest, and I gave myself a well-deserved day off CV sending) and yet there I was browsing the web for recipes and later browsing the kitchen cupboards for ingredients. I got inspired by the content of the cupboards so the recipe I had found earlier was subsequently used only as a guidance, as the skeleton of my gastronomic creation. I scribbled the necessary ingredients on a piece of paper or rather, being a freak paper-recycler, on an envelope I had recently received from Luxembourg informing me that weeks ago had I applied for a job at their institution (as if I didn’t remember) and letting me know it would take couple of more weeks (as if I hadn’t figured it out myself) before they decided if I would be even considered for the position. This otherwise trivial story would make a good example. Good example N°1 of how excruciatingly redundant and never-ending this job-hunting process is. Even taking a break from it leaves you with the feeling of something hanging in the air, determined to suffocate you. Good example N°2 of modern day recycling practices and paper re-usage – on one side there are those who instead of emailing would post a letter and on the other side are those who would re-use it, thinking they are being environmentally friendly. What is actually happening is instead of taking a step ahead we, me, the little insignificant citizen, are only repairing the damage already inflicted; despite our actions we are taken a step back where it all had started, only to neutralize somebody’s negative impact. Well, I am sure you are begging me to take a step back and return to that recipe of mine, hoping this post would finally make a sense.
Confused by the American measurement of cups, I tried to find the ingredients’ equivalent in weight. More confused by my kitchen scale or rather by my incapability of reading it, I decided to go back to the cups or even to the more professional approach – working from instinct, by the art of imagination – as all the big chefs are known for. And imagination, I have unlimited amounts of.
So with the oats and the flour already in the bowl, I started adding sunflower seeds, sultanas and cinnamon. I had an image of a crispy cookie with a crumbly texture and thought the seeds must inevitably produce that sensation. Besides, I could imagine the smell of roasted seeds and their warm, crunchy taste (please, try to ignore the month-watering sensation and the urge to run to the kitchen and make your own cookies and keep reading). I often use sultanas as an extra ingredient to my extremely nutty, homemade cereal mix or as a substitute to sugar in baking. So the decision to use them came rather naturally. Besides reducing the amount of added sugar, they would also help me get these tiny chewy bits in the otherwise crispy cookie. Writing down the word ‘sultana’, my linguist instinct was immediately triggered and the seed of doubt was planted in my already disturbed translator’s mind. I started wondering was it a sultana or a raisin what I had just added and how could one distinguish them. Trying to find a way out of this, I turned to Google, hoping it would come to the rescue but as it often happens, it only added more confusion. A readers’ poll on the Guardian not only did not make this linguistic mystery clearer but it also added the currant to the story. So I trusted my instinct and added the sultanas. As for the cinnamon, I assume that just like with any other spice, there are some rules as what goes with it but I tend to add it to any pastries I make as I love its tempting smell coming from the oven and the cosy, seductive feeling it leaves floating in the air. I realize it is not anymore my cookies I am selling you but a moment of anticipation and pleasure for your senses; an experience wrapped in a single cookie, released with a bite and preserved in this photo.
If I cannot physically share my cookies with anyone, I can at least share the experience of preparing and savouring them with you.
I don’t mind taking up the role of the housewife now and then and coming up with some unexpected delights, but I hope destiny has other plans for me and I get to find them out very soon.
In the meantime, you can make your own oatmeal cookies by checking the recipe I consulted and by adding anything your imagination and kitchen cupboards offer you.