24. A’s Soldier Kisses Cookies

My great grandmother is rather direct; she is originally from Finland and spent years as a missionary before marrying my great grandfather. I remember my childhood visits to her as being punctuated by many desserts and at odd hours: one morning, my mother awoke to find her own grandmother and her two children gleefully eating bowls of ice cream for breakfast with brownies on the side.

When I called her to talk about some changes in wedding plans, she told me that there was a word in Finnish that meant determination but was literally translated as “willing to walk through snow.” She said matter-of-factly, “That is what you need for a marriage to work.” I thought about the piles of snow I see in the winter and how uninterested I usually am in soldiering out; this seemed a slightly unforgiving view of marriage. Still, I was glad to have someone be a realist instead of asking variations of the question “Are you sooooo happy?” It seems important to get that real-world advice, the need for determination, before a wedding. It feels like the wedding is less of a fairy tale and more my actual life.

She gave me a recipe for one of the many sweets we ate as children, a fluffy pecan merengue cookie that she called “Soldier’s Kisses.” I thought they weren’t going to set up well because I used one egg white and it just seemed a bit soupy, but when they came out of the oven, they were rich and sweet, chewy in the middle and crisped on the outside, and perfect as a part of breakfasts in honor of all the time we spent being unhealthy as children.

I would probably modify them to include a second egg white, just to have more umph to the merengue, but the below recipe worked.

A’s Soldier Kisses

1 egg white
1 cup brown (light) sugar
2 cups pecan pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla.
Beat egg white and sugar; add other ingredients slowly while mixing. Drop in spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the edges are done. (I’ve also seen online that some folks just preheat the oven and then leave the cookies overnight in the oven to harden; experiment and see what you get both ways!)

Forgetting to Eat!

Does it ever happen to you that your day is so busy and there are so many tasks to be done in a very set amount of time that you just don’t eat at all? That has been today for me – my body has figured that my levels of stress hormones, I guess, mean that appetite isn’t worth having.

It does occur to me that one way to prevent unnecessary snacking is to stay busy (too busy to be hungry!) but for the most part, I think this is a bad habit on my part. For one thing, when my appetite does return, it returns without any rules or reason: it wants all the food, right now, and in massive quantities.

I do have some pretty amazing memories on when my body was running on coffee and fumes, though: in college, A and I sat together in a coffee house for 7 or 8 hours finishing our enormous final projects for a class; people we knew stopped by here and there to chat with us and commiserate about final projects in general, and it felt like the whole world was trying to learn with us. While we realized all of a sudden that we needed to eat at some point that day, and had to take a break, the memory stuck with me.

Perhaps I don’t want a lifestyle that makes me forget to eat regularly, but I do want, once in a while, to encounter projects or challenges so consuming that I don’t need food to focus on them. I like sometimes wondering if something is just outside of my abilities, and trying to push myself. It’s a bit like Julie fromĀ Julie and Julia trying to make her final recipe, which involved boning a duck; sometimes, we just want to try something so difficult that our body needs all its attention right there. Hopefully, though, my appetite will return tonight and I can whip up something tasty.

24. A’s Soldier Kisses Cookies

My great grandmother is rather direct; she is originally from Finland and spent years as a missionary before marrying my great grandfather. I remember my childhood visits to her as being punctuated by many desserts and at odd hours: one morning, my mother awoke to find her own grandmother and her two children gleefully eating bowls of ice cream for breakfast with brownies on the side.

When I called her to talk about some changes in wedding plans, she told me that there was a word in Finnish that meant determination but was literally translated as “willing to walk through snow.” She said matter-of-factly, “That is what you need for a marriage to work.” I thought about the piles of snow I see in the winter and how uninterested I usually am in soldiering out; this seemed a slightly unforgiving view of marriage. Still, I was glad to have someone be a realist instead of asking variations of the question “Are you sooooo happy?” It seems important to get that real-world advice, the need for determination, before a wedding. It feels like the wedding is less of a fairy tale and more my actual life.

She gave me a recipe for one of the many sweets we ate as children, a fluffy pecan merengue cookie that she called “Soldier’s Kisses.” I thought they weren’t going to set up well because I used one egg white and it just seemed a bit soupy, but when they came out of the oven, they were rich and sweet, chewy in the middle and crisped on the outside, and perfect as a part of breakfasts in honor of all the time we spent being unhealthy as children.

I would probably modify them to include a second egg white, just to have more umph to the merengue, but the below recipe worked.

A’s Soldier Kisses

1 egg white
1 cup brown (light) sugar
2 cups pecan pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla.
Beat egg white and sugar; add other ingredients slowly while mixing. Drop in spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the edges are done. (I’ve also seen online that some folks just preheat the oven and then leave the cookies overnight in the oven to harden; experiment and see what you get both ways!)