Forgotten Cookies, Dark Though It Is

There is little to settle the upset I feel this morning after the election. But also, I am heartened to live in a country whereafter such an upset we are met with peaceful concession and a peaceful transition of power. I woke up with the words of WS Merwin in my throat, a bilious sort of meditation. I had no idea it was going to be such a Roald Dahl season, an unending and curious circus—but now I see the disembodied clown nose that was left in my bathroom after our Halloween party as a sort of perverse, haunting totem to what would befall. Even so, I am staid that we must, with irony, approach our election consequence with a spirit of gratitude—that we have the opportunity to vote at all…a blessing, dark though it is.




with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

we are running out of the glass rooms

with our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it

standing by the windows looking out

in our directions


back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you


over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

remembering wars and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you

in the faces of the officials and the rich

and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you


with the animals dying around us

taking our feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

thank you we are saying and waving

dark though it is


Rodrigue’s Blue Dog was the mascot for our election season in Louisiana, but I had no idea that the scared and sad eyes were to be a foreshadowing of mine own, and indeed, my whole being, decidedly blue. The shock, oh, the horror.


I have decided that I will be decorating for Christmas early this year, starting today by making cookies—joining the cadre of folks I used to make fun of—but now I think I strangely understand the motive: there are times when indeed we wish we could fast-forward through the seasons. And now this advent seems like the truest advent, we are truly in a season of night. Time, hurry on.


Forgotten Cookies, Dark Though it Is

Adapted from Food and Wine


2 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

1/4 cup dried cherries

Coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. With the machine on, gradually add the sugar. Add the vanilla bean paste and cardamom and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips, pecans and cherries.

Using 2 spoons, drop 2-inch balls of the meringue mixture onto a large foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt and bake for 5 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cookies in for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

3 thoughts on “Forgotten Cookies, Dark Though It Is

  1. Rachel, I cannot think of more hope- and light-imparting words to read today, Inauguration Day, than yours in this blog post! I now think it may be more than coincidence that I got exactly this far behind in reading your blog during the past couple of super-busy months 🙂 At any rate, thank you for sharing this wonderful poem and your own reflections on the 2016 U.S. national election results and the advent season! Also, these cookies look fantastic! One of my mom’s yearly Christmas cookies – and among my very favorites from among all the wonderful cookies in our family – are a variation of this recipe, with mint flavoring and chocolate chips in place of the flavorings and “mix-ins” (to use ice cream shop language 🙂 ) in these. I want to try your version, and in doing so bring some light and love into the world in cookie form 🙂 Lots of love to you and yours!

    1. I have been heartened by some of the peaceful resistance movements, for example, today I’ll be attending the Women’s March in New Orleans where The Future is Female and Make America Kind Again will be blazing from t shirts and posters. Penzeys Spices is also keeping my spirits up with their political action — but also their Hope in food message

      1. Yes indeed, there are many points of loving, bright light and reasons for hope if we look for them! I am so happy that you’ll be among the wonderful women of NOLA marching through that grand city’s streets. My heart will be at the Minneapolis-St. Paul march, as the rest of me will be at a family gathering 🙂 And yes, hooray for our beloved Penzeys and their always loving and peaceful messages in both written and food forms! 🙂 Thank you for your wonderful reminder of some of the great goodness in our midst! Love and peace to you and all your fellow marchers in NOLA today!

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