All due respect to The Convener, and hizzoner The Commissar, but this blather ‘bout biscuits upsets my sensibilities. Verifiably, the progenitors of biscuits date back to the Romans. And yes, the word itself rings out imperatively: Biscuit! Esteemed reader, this is not to dispute that few words resonate as indecorously as Cookie, and I apologize for it’s jangly resonance. One would not be misguided in blaming the Dutch. Apparently they added sugar, and brought the little cake-like bites to The Colonies. Thus, the koekje found its way across the pond to the shores of AMERICA.
Yet, cookies are at the heart of my tale-telling. Bloody cookies. Can’t go along contentedly for more than a day or two without them. Mortifyingly, I once mainlined common sugar wafers, greatly upsetting my delicate constitution. Perhaps you’re familiar with such multi-colored, rectilinear intoxicants, packed snugly together in a rainbow of cameo pink, ashen brown and beige; fundamentally sugar and little else?
A bit of the back story may serve to illuminate my predilection. Mother, bless her, prepared a rotating repertoire of unappetizing meals throughout my early years. An exception: Excellent pasta sauce based upon a recipe taught to her by my food-loving Italian papa. And a sweet specialty in the form of crescent-shaped biscotti, boasting a soft texture, anise flavor melded with finely chopped almonds, and a light dusting of powdered sugar.
Memories of these treats overwhelmed me not so long ago in Paris, when I discovered tea time at Ladurée, purveyor of precious pastries and haute couture cookies. Upon returning home, I wallowed in Remembrances of Things Past. Not the petite madeleine version, but rather, recollections from childhood of fragrant biscotti fresh from the oven commingling with visions of my Parisian idyll – the astringent bouquet of Rue Bonaparte, sidestepping doggy droppings to cross the threshold of Ladurée. Grasping a petite box of buttery morsels as I exited.
As fate would have it, I reside north of the Golden Gate Bridge at present, not far from a tony town with an authentic Italian cafe: A destination for cognoscenti of expresso, panini, and all who lust after gelato. I’m drawn to gawk at the cafe’s baked goods. Tableaux of cookies cosseted in sparkling glass display cases. A love/hate relationship, surely, for these gem-like, melt-in-the-mouth delicacies carry a steep tariff, priced rather like elegant bijoux.
Well, hey ho! Thanksgiving is around the corner. A holiday that justifies my craving. The arduous part is picking and choosing, gathering a tiny trove from amongst the cookies’ pretty profiles. First off, I will search for a bowed crescent shape… with anise on the palate.