I’ve thought long and hard how I wanted to do this post, and whether I wanted to publish it this particular day or wait. I also debated whether or not I wanted to include a recipe with it, or just pour out my feelings and leave it at that. I decided to combine both–I figured if you’re going to read all this, you can at least have the benefit of a recipe for some really good cookies.
I’ve been fairly guarded about a lot with this incarnation of my blog, especially now that the bambino is older–I do include the occasional photo of him, but that’s it, because this isn’t a parenting or mommy blog. But I figure that if you’re a fairly new reader (ie., one who’s started reading in the past 4 years or so), there’s a lot you don’t know about me, other than what’s on my “About Me” page or what you’ve gleaned from my entries over the years.
And I know there are people who are either going to roll their eyes or laugh at this entry. That’s okay. But if you’re remotely close to my age, you likely remember the impact grunge had. And in the past couple weeks, you’ve no doubt read or heard the buzz around Kurt Cobain. One of those things that you may or may not know about me is that one of my favorite bands is Nirvana. They got big when I started high school, and sadly, it was shortly before I graduated that Kurt Cobain committed suicide. For me, they were perfect. I’d just started my pseudo-angst-filled teen years, they were loud, their lyrics full of longing wistfullness and that raging part deep inside most people keep locked away. As a teen, I’d lock myself in my room, listen to “Nevermind” over and over, and scribble away in my paper journals, the pain and agony of trying to find my way in the world, just pouring out. All the struggles of trying to find a place in that not-child-not-adult limbo.
We didn’t have cable at my mom’s, so if there was something I wanted to watch, I made it a point to go to my dad’s over the weekend, and would tape whatever. Nirvana’s episode of “Unplugged” was one show I made it a point to see and tape. Somewhere, that VHS tape is still hanging around.
The last time I remember watching it though, was the day the news broke about Kurt’s death. I think I watched it 5 or 6 times that day (I was home alone) and just sobbed. I recall my mom dismissively rolling her eyes at me, but to that, I would simply say that I have a vague, fuzzy memory of being 5, and seeing her standing in front of the TV crying–The day John Lennon was shot. And I also recall her crying the day that Stevie Ray Vaughn died. So I come by it honestly.
Music has the ability to transport us to other places and times, to make us feel things we didn’t know we were capable of feeling. Nirvana takes me back to high school and all of its growing pains. Whenever I hear Rancid’s “Ruby Soho,” I remember being in college, in my dorm room, the morning we learned a friend of ours had been robbed and shot the night before (he later passed away). When I learned of Lou Reed’s passing a few months ago, I put on “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” and busied myself in the kitchen. Without looking back at my archives or my journal, I couldn’t tell you what I made that day, but today, I made something comforting and simple. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I have made these before–They’re basically gluten-free (obviously, you’d use all gluten-free ingredients, if you need to and want to make them), and you can probably substitute whatever other nut butter you might like, should you have a peanut allergy (although I have not tried that myself, so I don’t know what kind of success you’ll have). Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Mix well, then stir in the chocolate chips. Using a small (1-Tbsp.) scoop, place the dough on the prepared baking sheets. Using a fork, press down on each cookie in a crisscross pattern. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
While I own almost the entire Nirvana catalogue, “Nevermind” or “Nirvana: Unplugged” are usually what I listen to most, although oddly enough, if I had to pick a favorite album, it would be “In Utero.” For one, it’s grittier. For another, I think it’s misunderstood, thanks to the controversy surrounding “Rape Me.” When I was in high school, I worked in a library part-time, and one of the many many books I checked out over the years was one called “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.” It wasn’t until college or later that I learned it was the inspiration for “Scentless Apprentice,” (one of my many “Duh!” moments over the years) which is one of my favorite songs off that album.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Mix well, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a small (1-Tbsp.) scoop, place the dough on the prepared baking sheets. Using a fork, press down on each cookie in a crisscross pattern.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
But my favorite Nirvana song remains the one whose video I started this post with. “Come As You Are.” I loved it when I first heard it as a confused, slightly weird 14-year-old. Twenty-some years later, I still love it. It’s been twenty years since Kurt Cobain committed suicide. Earlier this week, I got notice that a group from my graduating class is planning our twenty-year high school reunion. Nirvana’s music will always be tied to that period in my life. Coming so close to graduation and all the changes that were down the road with getting ready for college, Kurt’s death was a shock, a jolt that pushed me closer to the door of adulthood and the sometimes-painful realities of life. I hope I never have occasion to understand the pain that drives a person to commit suicide. I suffer seasonal depression, but I am thankful it’s manageable with some extra Vitamin D and sunshine. And so, I’ll spend my afternoon listening to Nirvana, eating some cookies, and reflecting on a time long passed. I hope that even now, Kurt is enjoying a peace he couldn’t find while alive.