It has been one year since my mother suddenly and horrifically died. One year on January 22nd. I want to have something worthy of the occasion to write; something profoundly important and insightful, or perhaps inspiring. I want to tell you the year was long or short or that I had a deeply meaningful spiritual revelation.
I was just sad a lot. I was sad with, but grateful for, my sisters and my Dad. I was grateful for my husband and children and for two gentle friends who kept reassuring me it was alright to be sad for as long as I needed. After a while I was also grateful for my work, which held my focus away from what had happened and away from my sadness for increasing amounts of time as the months passed.
Twelve months now.
But even work couldn’t always prevent it all from slipping in, and sometimes work made it come tumbling over me like rocks falling down a mountain, and I crumbled beneath the bruising weight. Ginger set off many such avalanches. Ginger, which I love in its own right, and also because my mother did.
My mother was like ginger: spicy, sassy and nuanced.
A long time ago, I was going to visit my parents and my mother had been sick. (Regular sick, not life-threatening sick. That seems like something you need to clarify when someone has died.) I created these ginger cookies and brought them to her in a pretty tin, layered in ivory-colored tissue paper.
She told me she liked them a lot. I know she did: she would have liked them even if they were a little dry or too chewy or not gingery enough or too sweet. My mother would have genuinely liked them anyway, simply because I made them for her.
If you have a mother like that, go tell her you love her.
Jane’s Ginger Cookies
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
4 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
3 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and crystallized ginger in a bowl.
2. Mix the butter, egg, molasses and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. (Do not overwork the batter.). Cover dough in plastic wrap and chill two hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350f and coat two baking sheet pans with cooking spray.
4. Place a bowl of cold water next to you. Place another bowl with the granulated sugar on your other side. Dampen your hands in the water and for a 1-inch ball of dough; roll it in the sugar and place on the baking sheet. Continue the process, making a total of 28 cookies.
5. Bake 18 minutes, rotating the two pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Makes 28 cookies
Note: for a crisper, larger cookie, flatten the balls to a 2-inch wide disk prior to baking.