Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sweet Spot

In the lovely and satisfying book Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray, the main character takes a stress reduction seminar at a YMCA where she is asked to visualize a safe, peaceful place.

"Everyone had closed their eyes and gone to their childhood bedroom or a beach in Jamaica or wherever life was simpler. I had no idea where I was supposed to go. I felt embarrassed sitting in my folding chair, as if the people around me would know that I was still in a conference hall while they were all walking down a white sand beach with the sun glinting off their hair. . . . But when I finally closed my eyes and tried, what I wanted came to me with complete clarity. The place that I went, the place that I still go, was the warm, hollowed-out center of a Bundt cake."
--Eat Cake (2003, pages 1-2)

I am ever charmed by this novel and by this idea of the inside of a cake as one's place of peace and comfort.
My new happy place is not exactly the inside of one of the amazing whole wheat chocolate chip cookies that I recently blogged (and bragged) about, but I can say with certainty that I would be even happier any place with one (or ten) of these cookies beside me. After I posted about the cookies, several people asked about the recipe. Thanks to a tip from my dear friend E. . ., I now know that Molly, the renowned food blogger from Orangette, also thinks these cookies from pastry chef Kim Boyce are something special. I feel strangely validated by this fact. So, if you're interested in the recipe, you can find it right here.*
A happy place of mine is pictured below.
Can you imagine anything better than sitting here on one of these bonus, warm November days and enjoying a novel and some cookies? Feeling the breeze, smelling the fall air, enjoying the greenery. Heavenly, right? Right now, this spot seems just as enticing as a beach, perhaps even more. I like to imagine an escape that is still cocooned by my everyday life and world.
I just have to imagine there's nothing better as I don't have many (or any) moments to relax and read on a chaise during my weekday life. My sweet spot vision does not involve an exersaucer parked next to my chaise or the sounds of static on baby monitors.
Also, this sweet outdoor spot does not belong to me or to anyone I know. It's just a place I drive past several times a week on my way to the McDonald's drive-thru for a Diet Coke.
Also, it is right on the alley.
But still, it seems like an awfully sweet spot. I'm going to continue picturing myself there all alone, except for my novel and my cookie for company.
What about you? Where do you escape, if only in your own mind? Do you have a tried and trusted chocolate chip cookie recipe?

*I had trouble linking to the specific post, but if you visit the site, it's the 11/5/2010 post.


LAP said...

Crap. Just wrote a really long comment and then it got all barded up. Maybe I need to go to a place of calm.

Your place of calm cracks me that it's somewhere you've passed on the way to McDonalds. I find myself picturing familiar places (specific rooms in various homes where I've lived or spent a lot of time), though an image of a peaceful beach with just the right temperature and no wind to blow my belongings away is nice as well.

I'm all about cookie bars these days, though just use the recipe on the package. Somehow tastes better in bar form.

The Empress said...

Calm, to me , is a bubble bath. THe warm water, the suds, I do it as soon as the hubs takes the kids grocery shopping for me...I ask him for at least an hour.

There is nothing like it.

calgon!!!!! you know the routine..

Heather said...

Hmmm, I'm thinking.

Still thinking...

I heart chocolate chip cookies big time. My favorite dessert ever. I'm going to print out this recipe AND the frito candy one to make soon. Maybe we can do our coordinated blog post next week?

Okay, my escape spot is my backyard patio, in the sun, with a good book and a cup of pumpkin-spiced coffee. No kids or husband or dog...just the leaves falling from the trees and the birds calling as they fly south for the upcoming winter.

Wow, I feel better already.

Now I have to finish my grocery list and head to Kroger...NOT my escape place.

E... said...

So glad you were validated by this information -- I already knew they had to be great if you were recommending them!! The choc chip cookies have got to be better than the box of snickerdoodle mix I've had sitting out for two days meaning to make. The good thing is, the reason we haven't made them yet is that it's been far too nice outside!
My happy place is an imaginary little spot where there is a cozy chair to read a book, and a glass of wine to drink. Yours looks awfully great, and I say you work on replicating it in your own backyard!

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