photo by smulligan on istockGay Guy,
Did you catch the Washington Post earlier this week when they dedicated the entire Food section to holiday cookie recipes? (link here)
You know I'm a loyal Post reader. You think I'd fully support a focus on holiday treats. But as I read through, I started to wonder, "What the hell are they thinking?" The paper has acknowledged (or at least their ombudsman regularly has) that they have a perception problem... that they are seen (like a few other high-profile papers) as elitist and out of touch with middle America. This disconnect goes beyond a simple liberal/conservative communications gap. As I'll prove, the gap runs all the way to baked goods.
You may be wondering what this has to do with cookies. How could they get that wrong? Well here's a partial list of the featured recipes:
• Pistachio and Cardamom Cookies
• Spicy Cheddar Thumbprints
• Orange Peel and Rosemary Scented Butter Cookies
• Lemon Yogurt Drop Cookies
• Three Pepper Spice Cookies
• Honey Toasted Pine Nut and Pumpkin Seed Bars
• Haute-meal Cookies
• Walnut Fig Sandwiches
• Sesame Halvah Cookies
• White Chocolate Cherry and Pistachio Chunkies
Well, la di da. Let's bring down the linen napkins and fine china and pour some Earl Grey before we dig in. Wait, children, where are you going?
Now I have no problem with any one of these recipes. I'll happily try them all. But the effect is cumulative. And the absences are shamefully obvious. Really? Nothing about straight-up sugar cookies? Nothing shaped like Santa and frosted? No M&Ms, Hershey Kisses, or peanut butter cups? No sprinkles, jimmies, or red hots?
And they include pistachios... twice! Even the chocolate chip cookies get Euro-fied with the addition of Nutella!
Hey, that last one sounds really good. But whatup WaPo? I hate to break it to you, but the inclusion of a single recipe for Honey Nut Cheerio Bars won't give you any low-brow credibility. Where are the Double Butter Peanut Butter Bombs? Snickerdoodles? Chocolate Crinkles? Whoopie Pies? Hermits? Rugalach?
I could go on and on, but The Joy of Baking site does it much better. They have some savory and experimental options (Pistachio Shortbread or Biscotti, anyone?), but are focused mostly on the tried and tested core, and they aren't afraid to use Rice Krispies or M&Ms when called for. Where I come from, we still call that "from scratch."
I'm a liberal at heart, but I guess I'll have to look elsewhere for "fair and balanced" coverage of cookies. Who else do we know?
Martha Stewart is America's premiere cookie maker and general elitist. One of my favorite moments from a holiday special was many years back when she hosted Miss Piggy into her gingerbread workshop. Martha started to go on about how they melt rock candy with jeweler's torches to make tiny custom strained glass windows. "Uhhhh-Huhhhh" said Piggy as she gave a knowing look to the camera and then turned back to Martha and said, "How much free time do you HAVE, lady!"
That's exactly what the food editors at the Post need. A celebrity expert to let them know that things have gotten too indulgent and out of control. Send Cookie Monster to the WP test kitchen and watch as he turns his nose up at Fruitcake Nuggets and Egg Nogg Bars, and eventually leaves hungry and sad. "Why you make cookies stinky and weird? Why cookie makers? Why!?"
Gay Guy, I complete this post wondering if you had the opposite take (inspired by the recipes not angered by them). Can cookies like these can be used to more formally define the gay/straight divide? Offer someone an Almond Cherry Wink Cookie and see what happens...
P.S. Readers, GG and I attended a potluck party yesterday. His macaroons were a huge hit with the crowd. I'll confirm that they were definitely good eats and they presented very well, too. Nothing frou frou about the 10 or 12 that I gobbled down, beer in hand.