I was raised in the kind of house where you would never ever dream of showing up to a party empty-handed.
Even when I go to a close friend's house, I must know what to bring. I really do want to know; you can't just say "nothing." I'm still not comfortable with the fact that my in-laws always say "nothing." If you say "nothing," you're getting a bottle of wine, whether you need it or not.
This may be a tad annoying to my South Florida friends; I understand this. But I was raised in a place where everyone pitched in. Someone brought a salad, someone else brought a side. My mom brought dessert.
The dishes would be lined up on long tables next to stacks of delicate Blue Danube plates and over the clink of silverware and ice cubes, you'd hear gentle exclamations like, "this is wahhhndurhful."
This kind of entertaining feels normal to me. It's not that I feel the need to "earn" my seat at the table; I just like to feel that I'm a part of things, I suppose; both the things that are happening here at this party, and the things that are part of our larger social relationships.
So, when you invite me over, assign me a task. It'll make me happy and keep me out of your hair.
This weekend, I made my chocolate chip cookies for Nick and Wendi's July 4th party. We nibbled them in little bites, huddled under the eaves as fireworks cracked and sizzled overhead. As the smoke drifted across the Intercoastal waterway, a yacht blared its horn in appreciation of the finale and a fine drizzle cooled our skin in the muggy darkness.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
A Fritter Original
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon brewed, then cooled coffee
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease two cookie sheets.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until well-blended. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and coffee, and blend.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground cloves. With the electric mixer running, add the flour mixture to the batter in 1/2 cup amounts, mixing just until blended through.
Fold in the rolled oats and chocolate chips.
Using two spoons, drop the batter in small balls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack. These cookies freeze well, as does the uncooked batter.
Makes: 2 dozen
The title of this post comes from the late, great Laurie Colwin's The Lone Pilgrim.