• Ally Marman

Stuck Inside: Sugary Shortbread Style

Today I did something that “pre-Corona Virus Ally” would never, ever have done.

It all started last night, way past an acceptable bedtime for a 7 year old. Way past when I would normally start threatening to take away blankets and Alexa’s. Down the stair bounded my sweet Ava with a paper in her hands. She asked if she could read it to me. The look on her face said she knew I was going to yell about bedtime, except I didn’t. I sat on the couch and let her read it to me.

Line by line, she rattled off ingredients. Sugar, flour, salt, 3 eggs, milk…followed by a half a dozen steps to complete the recipe. Finally a name – Sugary Shortbread. She looked at me with eyes as big as saucers and said

“What do you think?”

“I think it sounds delish Ava” I lied – because let’s be honest, it didn’t.

“Maybe tomorrow we can make it?” she asked.

“Yes, of course, tomorrow we can make it”.

And with that, she flew up the stairs and went to bed.

When she woke up this morning, she very casually brought it up, sure I would dismiss it. “I wonder if my recipe will be any good” she asked. “I’m sure it will be delicious” I lied again. “Can we make it today?” she asked. “Of course” I replied.

Two hours later, after a hearty breakfast, Ava pulled down her apron, grabbed a bowl and said “is now ok?”.

Before this quarantine, there would be a dozen of these back-and-forths before eventually she would get the hint. It’s not that I don’t want to let her try, or that I don’t love cooking with her. There were just so many other things on the queue before “destroy kitchen and create tons of dishes making something inedible and/or dangerous to eat”…and since we never quite got through our daily list, we never made it to these silly experiments.

But today – on day whatever of our lock down – there was nothing competing with her. There was nothing getting in the way, making me say “no”.

So off she went, pulling ingredients, mixing up her batter, greasing her pan and cooking the most terrible looking loaves of “Sugary Shortbread”. She even created her own icing, a very interesting mix of honey, sugar and cinnamon.

She proudly shared a serving with her brother and sister and – to their credit – they both tried it eagerly. Garrison ate every bite, obviously, and Gretchen licked all the icing. What was most interesting to me is that “pre-Corona Virus AVA” would have been so upset that it turned out crummy. She would have thrown a fit, hid on the stairs, made some sweeping comment about how she is never cooking again.

But today, she took a bite of the hard dessert, looked at me, laughed and said “Well, it needs a little adjusting but at least the icing is yummy”.

Then she wrapped the remaining bread up to save for Dad. I’m sure he is just going to love it when he gets home from work…I suspect it will get better with 24 hours of aging!


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