Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Crowd-Pleasing Cookies

When I discussed with my Granola Girl my wish to spend nearly a week's vacation with her in her cabin in the woods of southern New Hampshire, she was thrilled.

When I offered to cook for her for the whole week, since she would be teaching or in classes every day and leaving me on my own, she was ecstatic.

(I've discovered that for some odd reason, almost no one turns down my cooking. Go figure!)

The only thing that she said I absolutely had to do while I visited her was to go with her to the contra dance in Nelson on Monday night. "It's super fun!" she said. "You'll have dance partners all night, and they always welcome newcomers. You'll love it!"

"And by the way, do you want me to volunteer us to bring cookies?"

Now, I've never been to a contra dance before, and I know I tend to be a clumsy dancer. But I thought, perhaps these people will be more forgiving if I take home-baked cookies. So I agreed.

On my first full day in the cabin yesterday, I tested the kitchen's capacities to the limits by making soup stock, pumpkin soup, three-grain rolls, and two kinds of cookies for the dance: cinnamon refrigerator cookies and peanut butter brownie bars (with a peanut butter shortbread base, a fudgy filling, and chopped roasted peanuts on top). I've been pondering both of these recipes for a while, and as soon as I had the chance to test them, I did.

And so it was that we arrived at the town hall with me bearing a basket of cookies and a bit of nervousness about the dance. My Granola Girl graciously solicited a few dances for me with some of the more experienced dancers, and soon I was whirling merrily around the room, laughing with the exhilarating understanding of why she loves contra dancing so much.

When I took a break, I also could understand the need for the cookies, as I felt light-headed and in desperate need of quick calories. I managed to snatch a couple of the cinnamon cookies, but I never did see any of the brownie bars again as I was quickly whisked into the next set with another willing gentleman.

By the end of the evening, I suspect that a number of regulars were ready to have me come back, for my cookies if not yet for my dancing.

And you know, I think I just might.


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