GINGER CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (GLUTEN FREE) + A POEM MEMORIAL

Sometimes your life gets filled up to the edges with memories. Your memories, and the imaginings of family memories, and the generations of memories that filled the lives of those that came before you. And usually that sometime happens when a foundation of that-fighting-spirit gets rubbed away into dust. For me that-fighting-spirit is - was - my grandfather.

An ex-POW, a navy captain, a flyer, a fan of the four letter word. He was a genuine, sweet-hearted bastard and we all loved him for it. His nickname was Nasty Ned. I knew him as a sailor and trickster and lover of chocolate tootsie pops -- he sincerely hated all of the other flavors.

He was a complicated man who made a lot of mistakes, but above all he was a good man, and a man I am so proud to be related to. He was the kind of person that made you feel like a badass by association. Like you were part of the inner club of old American glamour. His first words to my grandmother were: "You look like a goddamn angel." I don't imagine I will ever know another person with such an artistic grasp on curse words.

So, I'm grieving. Grieving the loss of this amazing man, and grieving for all of the painful memories associated with his war-tangled life. The Vietnam War is still affecting my family today, and that's the truth of it. His sacrifice -- those years held captive 1968 to 1973 -- have affected me and my brothers and my cousins and will in turn affect my children. The way we grew up is directly relative to my parents experience with him during and after his imprisonment. We're all a product of that pointless, ego-driven war. But of course, beyond that, we're a product of a his strength, pain, and intensity.  And here's a poem I wrote (he detested poetry) because I needed to (because it helps). i. Rain tossed in sheets over Baltimore. All air sucked out from the streets.  Sky slow and bone white.  Hospital windows so clean they're hardly there. Collected, our hearts thunk in unison surrounded by tall backed chairs romance novels old copies of Bon Appetit and sleeping strangers with coats for blankets. Two at a time to go back. See the cracked stone that is our Man, chipped with age like a coarse walking stick that gives you the finger so you won't cry.

ii. A gem cracks, tossed from helm to bow. Sharp, clean edges worn. Facets clear, though chipped at the edge. We always thought it would be sunk at sea,  Dropped over a mountain range, Lost to the air. Who knew it would simply glint in the sun, here and then gone  like a magic trick. 

 

iii. The diamonds and dust of darkest night. Pressed down upon by rusty strangers with sweaty palms and etched faces,  handled and hammered and hacked. Broken and put back together. From pressure came this diamond though bright red and streaked through -- a rough edge or two. Always the truth of the thing: the gem survived the making.

 

iv. Reflecting sunset like blood -- sailors delight -- it beats against time pronouncing that death does not come to men  made of stone.  Only time can wear and whittle a man into sand.

 

RIP Captain Edwin "Ned" Arthur Shuman III 1931-2013

And yes it's weird that I am posting pictures of cookies and a memorial to my grandfather at the same time. Yes it feels awkward. But grief makes you do things that don't make sense. Dazed, distracted things -- like bake and take pictures of cookies when you just want to crawl into bed and eat Chinese food alone with the covers over your head while watching old Sci-fi movies. And that has to be ok.

Because right now I have a hard time dealing with anything other than drop cookies.

These cookies are sweet & chewy, basically cinnamon cookies beefed up with STUFF.

Recipe

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

2 1/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill) 1 tsp baking soda 1 tbsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp sea salt 1 cup evaporated cane sugar 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/3 cup coconut oil 1 large organic egg 1/4 cup water 3 tbsp finely chopped ginger root 3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries 2/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 2 large cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

In a medium large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate medium bowl, add sugar, coconut oil, and maple syrup. Beat together with an electric mixer 2 minutes. Add egg, water, and ginger and beat 2-3 minutes more.

Add wet mixture to dry mixture about 1/3 cup at a time. (Don't worry about over-mixing, as there are no gluten proteins here that would normally make your cookies tough.) Add cranberries & chocolate chips until combined. Using a tablespoon, spoon out dough onto your cookie sheet. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes, in batches. Let cool at least 5 minutes before eating. Ideally, let cool 20 minutes so the cookies settle.

Dip 'em in milk, dunk 'em in coffee, box 'em up and give 'em as a gift.

Keep being a badass.

Renee