Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Of Eggs and Time

I made pizzelles yesterday.

I’ve been meaning to do that for a while now, as the chickens have gone berserk.

No, no.  This makes sense.  Hear me out.

Chickens are misunderstood creatures, really.  I don’t know why people say “chicken” as a synonym for “coward” in English as those things are fearless descendants of dinosaurs who would eat you in a heartbeat if they were bigger.  Which of course makes it rather comical when they try to do that to you in their present rather abbreviated form, especially if – like us – you happen to have a small flock of mostly exotic “4H County Fair Exhibit” type birds, some of which have been known to run beak first into hanging buckets and at least one of which regularly ate his own toes. 

This is why we don’t keep the roosters very long.

When it gets cold the hens generally devote more of their energy toward keeping themselves warm and less of it toward egg production, which is fine since it’s just me and Kim at home now and while we like eggs we also like other food and we don’t really eat that many of them. 

But for the last few weeks we’ve been getting three or four dozen eggs a week from them, which means more baking than usual.

So I made pizzelles yesterday, as they are an egg-intensive cookie.  You can also set up the pizzelle iron on the coffee table and make them by the light of whatever random sporting event is being broadcast at the time, which frankly beats grading any time.

I make them with anise oil, which is the One True Traditional Way to make pizzelles.  I suppose vanilla is also canon, and living in a part of the midwest where there are few if any people of Italian descent I have also seen them at our local grocery store in chocolate, orange, maple (yes, we’re not all that far from Canada really – buon giorno, eh?) and on one memorable occasion pumpkin spice which is an affront to all that is holy.  But I prefer anise, so that’s what I make.

The house smells like steam-distilled anise for a day or two afterward.  It’s an old-fashioned scent, really.

My grandmother used to make pizzelles for the holiday season, along with a raft of other cookies and assorted sweets.  She’d store them in these big steel Charles Chips cans and bring them over to our house for holiday meals or bring them out from wherever they were hidden for those meals at my grandparents’ house.  She’d put the powdered sugar on them, too, a step I always skip.

Yesterday would have been my grandparents’ 81st wedding anniversary, a fact that occurred to me about halfway through making the pizzelles. 

Sometimes it all fits together.


Katherine McKay said...

I thought of that anniversary yesterday, too. How perfectly fitting that you should be making pizzelles that day. The smell of anise will always bring me home wherever I am. Thank you for that memory. Down with a messy cold and without any sense of smell at the moment, that memory was better than cold meds.

David said...

It is a scent full of memories and home, yes indeed. :)

Ewan said...

Said part of the midwest offers readily-available anise oil, though? Impressive.

David said...

I know!

You can't get escarole to save your soul, but anise oil is freely sold. I'll take it. :)