Cal has been studying Buddhism as a part of his fourth grade’s unit on world religions; the pictures are from a field trip to a Buddhist monastery earlier this week.
The other day, as I was putting together a batch of oatmeal cookies, Abbott asked to interview me for his humanities class. He wanted to know about how my life, now, is the same as, and different than, it was before he was born. I said, “For the record, a good day in my book has always involved baking.” We laughed.
I was a graduate student when I was pregnant with him; I finished my thesis weeks before his birth, and defended it a week after he was born. During my pregnancy, I went to bed early and woke up at an hour that never quite felt late enough to qualify as morning, trying to stay warm while I read and typed. The evenings grew longer as my belly distended. Daffodils opened. We slept with the windows open, and the air coming in had a sweetness to it. Day after day, the sky was blue. The sidewalks were baked warm by the sun. Every bird in flight seemed to promise something.
I told Abbott that, in addition to him and his brother, I now know all sorts of people I didn’t before I was a parent. I’m more compassionate than I used to be.
I relax more and I’m also busier; usually, now, I feel as though there is always some leak in the house that needs fixing.
In the years since I became a mother I have learned that how you spend your days adds up to how you spend your life.
(Also: Being 12. (via Jenny))
Salted Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from The Washington Post June 13, 2007
I’ve probably made a dozen versions of oatmeal cookies; this one is our favorite because it really brings out the earthy flavor of oats.
The dough will keep, refrigerated, for several days. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups flour
2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (like Maldon)
In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a few minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, beating until the mixture is well blended. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and then the oats, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary and mixing just until they are incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least an hour before baking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Form the dough into golf ball sized balls and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Sprinkle sea salt generously on top of each ball of dough. Place the cookies in the center racks of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and beginning to turn golden. Switch the sheets halfway through, moving the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top. Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: about 18 cookies