Peanut Butter Cookie Time!

Peanut Butter Cookie Time!

Just a thought before we get into peanut butter cookie time... 

The tabletop gaming hobby doesn't belong to anyone. Not a demographic, not a gender, not an age group. Hobbies don't really have "owners" like that. If someone tries to tell you that men need to give women "permission" to participate in gaming, remind them that no one 'owns' gaming, and if they did the ownership title wouldn't be a penis and shitty social skills. We're not asking for permission, we're asking men to stop acting like dicks.

I frequently hear the reason there are so many men who are so terrible at basic social etiquette is because there's a high level of social anxiety and/or a low level of social skills amongst gamers. This is a reason, but it's not an excuse, and if you spend more than half a second thinking about it, it's a really shitty excuse that makes men look pretty fucking pathetic. 

Nerdy girls grow up with even more ridicule and abuse than nerdy boys because in addition to being nerdy, we're often not considered acceptable sexual partners by the jocks or the nerds. As a nerdy girl, I was often the only girl in the room, or one of two or three. Not only did I get the regular bits of bullying and abuse from the non-nerds (for example, the girl who slammed my head up against a brick wall, then took a polaroid of me crying afterwards to give to all the boys in fifth grade), but after puberty I got a whole new set of ridicule and abuse in the form of "you're not fuckable" from both my nerdy friends and the jocks. 

If bad social skills and the inability to identify it's not good form to use rape as in-character punishment for... anything or anyone... come from being picked on in high school, nerdy girls should be completely fucking incapable of holding a conversation with anyone. Ever. I'm not saying those people don't have serious issues with social skills. Obviously, they do, but let's stop trying to drum up pity for guys who grope women at the gaming table. At that point, it's not time to be gentle, it's time for tough love, and even that isn't required. You're a fucking adult. It's up to you to do the work to make sure you're not a miserable stain on the future of humanity. 

It is completely and utterly unacceptable to ask a victim to have pity for a predator, and that flows over to potential victims as well. It isn't up to the victim to educate the perpetrator... and, really, if you get to adulthood and think it's okay to chant "If it bleed it breeds" to a thirteen-year-old girl at a gaming store, you don't need sympathy, you need an intervention. 

Now that the air has been cleared of that terrible bullshit smell, let's fill it with peanut butter cookie scent, instead! 

For the first cookieventure, I decided to go with an age old favorite -  the peanut butter cookie. I have some special memories about this cookie. When I was a very young child, my maternal grandmother often babysat me while both my parents worked. She was a classic housewife in pretty much every sense. She didn't even have a driver's license which was, in part, because she didn't have a birth certificate until she was in her 70s. This was because she grew up on a Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma with her 11 brothers and sisters, and they didn't need no stinking birth certificates. 

Like most people who claim Cherokee blood, we have little evidence the family actually has Native American blood in it save for stories that my great grandmother was half Cherokee that grandma would tell us. I never knew my great grandmother (she died when I was an infant IIRC), but I have seen pictures of her, as well as my grandmother and her siblings, and there are many native features among them. At one point, I was deeply into genealogy, so I tried to track it down, but the maiden name ends up being 'Smith'. 

There are a lot of Cherokee with the surname 'Smith'. So, who knows what the real truth is about our blood. Since my family no longer speaks to me due to my lack of belief in God, I may never know the truth. Fuck, they'll probably never know the truth. Whatever the truth is, grandma still grew up in Oklahoma on a reservation where she didn't have a birth certificate. 

During the depression, grandma and grandpa left Oklahoma to come to California. They were genuine, for reals "Okies", a term I heard grandma and my parents use on multiple occasions, but just now realized it means more than "someone from Oklahoma". Grandma and her new husband left Oklahoma, and if I recall correctly, the rest of the family followed thereafter. Grandma and Grandpa ended up in LA, but the rest of the family found their home in Shafter, a small town north of Bakersfield known for its agriculture and train station. 

Okies are people who migrated from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression prompted by the Dust Bowl era. It's a pejorative term to describe these people who were poor and took whatever jobs they could get in the fields in California's central valley. Many Okies ended up leaving the agricultural industry sometime in the 40s during the war. My grandparents were among them. They moved to LA, and my grandfather worked at a chemical plant after returning from the war (he was a paratrooper) until he died of pancreatic cancer when I was eight. 

Before that, though, I grew up at my grandmother's apron. She'd make eggs, hashbrowns, and toast for breakfast, then we'd hand wash and dry all the dishes together, then we'd clean the house (which was a tidy trailer in a trailer park in Bellflower), and prepare for the rest of the day. This might involve watching the news while peeling and slicing potatoes, or snapping the ends off green beans, or, my favorite... making peanut butter cookies. 

The last food Grandma Booker ever made for me before she died was two dozen of these very cookies when I was eighteen. Let's get into it, shall we? Here's the original recipe as found in the Cooky Book (including the sexist intro text - remember, this was published in 1963!): 

Peanut Butter Cookies

So rich, good with anything; a favorite with men and children. Many homemakers double the recipe since these cookies disappear quickly. 

  • 1/2 cup shortening (half butter or margarine)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups Gold Medal Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Mix shortening, peanut butter, sugars, and egg thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method (p. 5) or by sifting. Blend all dry ingredients; stir into shortening mixture. Chill dough. 

Heat oven to 375˚ (quick mod.). Roll dough in 1 1/4" balls. Place 3" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten crisscross style with fork dipped in flour. Back 10 to 12 min. Makes about 3 doz. 2 1/2" cookies.

Fancy cooking shows (or professional kitchens) call this ' mise en place ', except my mise is placed into the bowl... 

Fancy cooking shows (or professional kitchens) call this 'mise en place', except my mise is placed into the bowl... 

It's interesting to be someone who's baking as an adult after having been a kid baker. When I was younger, I had no patience for dough that needed to be chilled or making sure I had all the ingredients before I started dumping things in bowls. Or, for that matter, reading the directions. This made for many burnt and/or bad tasting cookies. 

As an adult, I have much more patience. So, the first step is pulling out all the ingredients, measuring them, adding them to their respective bowls, then making the cookies. 

You can use any peanut butter, really. I used Skippy Roasted Honey Nut peanut butter for that extra little bit of sweetness. I've known people to also make these with crunch peanut butter, though I find crunchy peanut butter to be an abhorration, personally. I won't judge you, though. Promise. 

Soda cup included for scale... hey, cookie making is a thirsty job!

Soda cup included for scale... hey, cookie making is a thirsty job!

Once you've got the wet stuff creamed (that sounded better in my head), and you've added the dry stuff to make the dough, it need to chill, so get it some weed and wine (ha! just kidding, those are a totally different kind of cooke). I went for about an hour in the fridge followed by a short time in the freezer just to make sure. This helps it keep it's form when you roll them into balls. No one likes melty balls.  

I'll remind you here that I like big cookies (and I can not lie), so I tend to ignore the size suggestion of 1 1/4" balls, and just use my 1 1/2" cookie baller device (shown in the picture). It means a slightly longer baking time (these came out ideal at around 13 minutes), but it also means a bigger and softer cookie in the end, which is my favorite thing in the world. 

Again, Betty must've been smoking something when she determined the batch sizes for these recipes. I was able to make 18 cookies, which is a lot shy of the three dozen the recipe claims to make, even with bigger balls (I just like saying big balls). 

Biiiiiig cookies!

Biiiiiig cookies!

I think the most important thing about making cookies is knowing when to pull them out of the oven. These cookies were textbook perfect, and disappeared so fast I had to make another batch of them the next day to meet the demand. Never trust the recipe instructions. For these, I waited until I could just see some golden brown around the edges (which you can see in the picture above), and the bottom was a light, golden brown. 

Carefully time the first batch. I started with ten minutes, then upped it to 11, then 12, then 13 for that first sheet. When 13 looked just about perfect, I just popped in 13 minutes for the next two pans, and it worked splendidly.

I chose peanut butter cookies this time not just so I could talk about my grandma, but also because my husband is a huge peanut butter lover, and he was having a week where comfort cookies were a necessity. Heat a couple of these puppies up in the microwave for a few seconds, and pour a nice, big glass of milk, then let your problems sail away on a sea of yummy peanut butter. 

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