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Saturday
May112013

Salted Chocolate Cookies with Ginger and Coconut

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These really are worth reading about. Stay on the line.

As you must know by now, food is the way for me to talk about everything else. And since tomorrow is Mother's Day, I've got a few things on my mind.

As I've become a mother, I have really mixed feelings a about Mother's Day. I look forward to the cards my kids make me, and if I'm lucky Wyatt will write me a poem. I look forward to lounging around in the morning and sometimes reminiscing about having babies or what life was like before half my budget went to Target.

But...

There should be a Women's Day instead of Mother's Day. A day to honor whatever thoughtful choices we have made in our lives. 

Deciding not to be a mother is full of integrity. And brave. Our culture puts so much emphasis--overtly and subtly--on motherhood as the fulfillment of womanhood. I have been blessed, over and over again, by women in my life who are not mothers. They have more energy for their work in the world. They're less distracted, and they have a lot of love left for my children!

Longing for motherhood and not experiencing it is painful. I don't know about this firstand (2 weeks from decision to fertilization in this household!), but I know from listening and being with lots of women. I've learned never to be cavalier about it or assume anything. Everyone's got a story, and some of them are full of pain and broken dreams.

The maternal spirit comes in many forms. It comes with godmothers and godfathers. It comes with anyone who lovingly takes care of children for a living or as a favor. It comes whenever there's care for a dying, sick, or disabled person. It comes in how we connect with and care for our pets. In the Buddhist way, what would happen if we saw ourselves as mother to everyone AND saw everyone in our community as mother to us? A lot of love going around. And you don't have to actually be a mother to experience that. 

My children don't owe me anything. I don't need to be thanked for bringing them into the world--that was my choice, not theirs! They didn't ask to be born. I've always said that the decision to have children can be construed as selfish, and the decision not to have children can be construed as selfish. The truth is that all of us are just caught up in the mystery of living and we are doing the best we can.

The biggest reward of motherhood is relationship. And that can come in so many ways beside motherhood! No matter how it comes, it's still something we have to choose every day. I could co-habitate with my children, feed and clothe them, AND go to all their soccer games and still not really be in relationship with them. You can be a loving aunt on the other side of the country and REALLY have relationship if you're intentional. Surprise! Intention is the key. Having needy, dependent creatures that come from your own body might be the shortcut to relationship because I don't have to coordinate anything to see them! There are so many ways to have deep, intentional relationship with children or others in our lives, but it all requires work.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone. Every one of us is a son or daughter. Every one of us came from a mother and is going back to our Mother. Maybe you've landed on work that has exposed and deepened your maternal spirit. Maybe you've sat with the dying. Maybe you've negotiated a difficult relationship with your Mother and come out the other side, more reflective and more interesting. Or maybe you're nursing a newborn as you read this, and there are absolutely no words to describe how raw and how "yourself" that feels. 

Happy Mother's Day to my mom. Thank you for all the beautiful picnics our family went on, and your love of suprises. Thank you for being there when my children were born and throwing your love and energy into grandparenthood. Thank you for your great style, your appreciation of beauty, and bringing the party with you wherever you go. I love you.

Happy Mother's Day to these cookies. How's that for a transition? I really wouldn't mind being a direct descendent of these chewy, spicy, expletive-worthy morsels. That wouldn't be a bad lineage. And, fittingly, these are my Mom's chocolate chip cookies with some variations. I made them for my physical therapist, whose care for me in the past year has made me feel more like myself. Happy Mother's Day to her, too.

Salted Chocolate Cookies with Ginger and Coconut
This dough needs to be refrigerated, so plan ahead a bit. No mixer needed here. As with most cookies, watch them very carefully in the oven and take them out before they look done.

2 c. old fashioned oats
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg plus one egg yolk
1 c. (2 cubes) melted unsalted buter, cooled
1 c. unsweetened coconut chips (large flakes)
1/2 pkg (or more) dark chocolate chips
1/3 c. chopped candied ginger
flaked salt for tops 

Combine oats, flour, salt, soda, and sugars in medium mixing bowl. Add egg, egg yolk, and  cooled melted butter and stir until almost combined. Add coconut, chocolate chips, and ginger, and stir until just mixed. Refrigerate dough for an hour.

Heat oven to 350. Form dough into balls (about 2 Tb. per ball) and set onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press a bit of flaked salt into the tops of each cookie. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until they're just baked. Remove from oven and cool. 

Reader Comments (8)

I just wanted to say thank you. So few people acknowledge the infertility community in their mother's day blog posts ... I am so grateful that you did here. (And the "celebrate your mother" answer isn't always the easiest alternative, either ... I'm glad you recognized that, too!) The cookies look pretty incredible. Maybe I will make them tomorrow, to celebrate the amazing women in my life.
May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJustine
Hear, hear! I believe we should celebrate ALL those who have nurtured us, in one way or another, and there are certainly a huge number of them! I see wonderful nurturing every time I open my eyes in the world, there's SO much involved in that! Many of those folks, for one good reason or another, had not exercised their uterine rights, or for that matter, their sperm-producing ones, either! It didn't subtract a whit from what they offered the world, thank God!
I'll be taking your most recent biscuits to our family Mothers' Day celebration tomorrow, and I'll be thanking you! Love, and Happy Mothers' Day! You're such a gift to all of us, and help us to make decisions we're proud of and willing to stand on. Lots of love!
May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn M
You are truly have an extraordinary ability to observe and empathize with the world around you. You are able to see so many perspectives at once. I appreciate all your thoughts and can't wait to make these treats for my family. Happy Mother's day!
May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for recognizing those of us women who mother but are childless. I have such mixed emotions about Mother's Day and yes, Women's Day would be my preference.
Love and Light to you.
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindy M
I cannot thank you enough for this post. It's very timely for me. I have followed your blog for a long time. I appreciate your recipes and insights. Thanks for making me feel valuable during a difficult season!
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDA
Somehow I missed this post until today. I am very grateful for it. Thank you for your generosity and for helping to make a place/space for all of us! Thanks, too, for using food as a vehicle for writing about life. You go, girl!
May 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatsy
Thank you, you summed up my ambivalence about Mother's Day very succinctly. Especially the part about our children do not owe us anything and the relationship is the biggest reward. Because of my own difficult relationship with my mother, I always struggled with how to honor her but also be honest to myself and not try and sugarcoat things. Now, as my 3 kids are reaching adulthood, my biggest gift and biggest challenge is how to keep the communication lines open without resorting to guilt trips or manipulation. I appreciate your wise words.
May 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCJ
This is a beautiful tribute Sarah. I'm excited to try any recipe that has coconut, ginger, and chocolate ;)
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNoël

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