Once the news got out the food started arriving almost immediately and in enormous amounts. Neighbors arrived with hot coffee and bagels. The local grocers hand delivered pans of baked ziti, large trays of deli meats and cheeses all rolled into neat little packages. There were decorative trays of salads with tomato roses and steaming aluminum containers of chicken marsala. Next came those beautiful edible arrangements of fruit and even the florist got involved showing up with an herb garden. Let’s not leave out the UPS man and his near daily visit over the next month carrying boxes of cinnamon scented coffee cakes, buttery cookies and more gourmet gift baskets of goodies than can be counted. It was an amazing outpouring of love and sympathy from family and friends, but I could not eat a single bite. In fact, in the first week, after the tragic news was delivered, I lost 11 pounds. I suddenly lost my child. I was shocked, confused and had absolutely no appetite. I wondered what was the deal with all this food? How could anyone think I could eat at a time like this? Chef Art Smith helped me understand. In his book, Back To The Table The Reunion of Food and Family, he sums it up nicely:
Food As Love
Few of us think of food only in times of celebration.
We also think of it in times of sadness and need.
Cooking for others is a way to extend your heart.
It has been 2 1/2 years since I lost my son. I have vowed to follow in his light, to celebrate his life rather than mourn his death and with this blog step out of my comfort zone much like he did throughout his life at home and in the military. He encourages me to write about the sad experience of losing one of my life’s most precious gifts. From my heart to yours enjoy this recipe inspired by my sweet William.
[recipe title=”Sweet William’s Inspired & Spirited Chocolate Chip cookies” servings=”3 dozen”]
2 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
12 tablespoons (11⁄2 sticks / 6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 large egg, at room temp.
1 large egg yolk, at room temp.
2 tablespoons good bourbon or whiskey (William liked Jack Daniels)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12 oz) bag Ghirardelli double chocolate bittersweet chips
Heat oven to 325° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter, both sugars and corn syrup on high. Beat in egg, egg yolk, bourbon and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix the flour mixture in gradually until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop onto prepared sheets in 2 tablespoon (1 oz.) cookie scoops, leaving 2-inches between each cookie. Bake until cookies are lightly browned on the edges (rotating pans halfway through if baking two at once), 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 3 dozen.
Note: Once you’ve scooped the dough into balls, you can freeze them like this on the trays. Transfer the frozen balls to a freezer-safe zippered bag for up to 1 month. Do not thaw before baking.[/recipe]
Thanks to my friend Debbie Vanni for the Art Smith Book from her culinary cellar.