Cook my Boardgame

December 27, 2011

In the opening line of Little Women, Amy March laments “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents!” Later, Amy reforms and the March sisters agree to donate most of their gifts to the poor family next door. Despite what you hear, Christmas can be Christmas without any presents. But would the holiday survive without any cookies?


Thus a small group of us did our part with a third annual cookie baking party. The first annual cookie baking party happened to coincide with the birth of the Bushwick Settlers of Catan League Night. To commemorate the occasion, I decided to make these.

Despite their superlative tiling abilities, hexagonal shaped cookie cutters are not widespread on the market these days. Happily, I was baking in a home with a very large collection of Catan tiles.

Since Christmas was approaching, a certain white bearded red capped man seemed like an apt guest for such a sugary feast. However, after a bit of research I learned (not unlike the March sisters) that there are much more needy Christmas folk out there. Fjosnissen are Norwegian barn elves who care for the animals throughout the year and hand deliver presents to good children on Christmas Eve. To thank them for their services, households leave out a bowl of porridge and a pint of beer. A bowl of porridge, though delicious, doesn’t exactly provide year round satisfaction.

I am told that the Catan Settlers are based off of the early Norse explorers, so I invited a few Fjosnissen around for a round and some game board consumption. They proved good company, although I cannot promise that the game was played fairly. These elves are known for magical abilities.

You will observe that the Fjosnissen grow surprisingly plump on such a meager diet. Nevertheless, they seemed to enjoy the cookies. Or at least, the cookies disappeared. How that happened, well…


Good dogs when they die

December 6, 2011

I became a vegetarian at about 7 years old. My mother loves to tell the story about how I asked her whether I could be a vegetarian, but still eat bacon and ham and cheese croissants. She said no.

Although I didn’t want to eat meat, I was not too concerned about contamination. My friend Mo would give me the outside of her chicken nuggets and my little sister kindly passed along the wrappers of her pork potstickers. I thought myself very clever to have managed to finagle the best parts without violating the letter of the law. So I was surprised to learn today that potsticker skins are simply steamed noodles, ie. flour and water. Perhaps my little sister was wiser than I thought.

Now, I can fill my dumplings with whatever I please and then eat the whole thing. These ones enclosed mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, ginger, garlic, shallots, and cilantro.

For the past year, cooking wontons at my family’s house meant only one thing: Cooper’s dinner. I doubt any of us will be able to smell the unique combination of steaming oil and Chinese seasonings without remembering that small gray poodle who warmed our laps over the years. So, naturally, there was only one choice for my afternoon guest.

I ate my potstickers with sriracha, Cooper ate his plain, neither of us used chopsticks, and we both licked our bowls clean.

Then we took each other for a walk.