Betty Cocker

Happy Sleep-in Pie Thursday

I know that many of my fellow and sister white folks who live in the United States annually take some time to reflect on both the origins and the consequences of the first Thanksgiving, as I do. I am not thankful for that first boatload of Europeans, though my ancestors were among those that took advantage of the blood-soaked ground they left for others to build upon. Only a psychopath (which I am mostly not) would miss the paradox of celebrating such a terrible legacy.

At the same time, a four-day weekend devoted to pie, sleeping, a jigsaw puzzle of Volkswagen buses, and dicking around online is pretty much exactly what I needed. Fall is always a hard time for me, I never do well with the time change and as I get older the colder weather demands that I lay low just when work and everything else is heating up. Inevitably, I get sick.

With God as my witness this will be the last bland, Libby’s-based pumpkin pie I make in this lifetime.

With God as my witness this will be the last bland, Libby’s-based pumpkin pie I make in this lifetime.

On Thanksgiving day Jack started up in the kitchen at 7:20 a.m. He is a man who likes to get shit taken care of early, and who am I to stand in his way? I laid in bed while he boiled potatoes, made stuffing, and put the turkey on the barbecue so that the oven would be freed up for me and Jackson to make pies. We must have some kind of magical Weber grill because even though the math said our bird needed four-and-a-half hours to cook, it only took two? And there were no raw parts, it was all perfectly done? The bird cooled, I finished all the sides, and the three of us sat down to eat at 5:00 and watch The Incredibles 2. It’s been a good sixteen hours and none of us has come down with salmonella, so I’m feeling pretty solid about our chances for survival.

Before dinner I don’t make everyone go around and say what they’re grateful for, I know my family and it just embarrasses them. This year I merely offered what I was grateful for, which meant acknowledging the heinous acts of our forefathers that somehow led to the glory on plate in front of me: bird, stuffing, cranberry, two kinds of potatoes, one green thing, gravy, a pause, and then two kinds of pie.

Despite everything I hope you were able to create some comforts of your own this week.


“Once I put the top on, in the privacy of a changing room, I saw how well it complemented the male body: its low crew neck and tight, stretchy fabric showed off my chest and arms. To the surprise of the shopkeeper, and myself, I bought it.” Letter of Recommendation: Women’s Clothing

“You know, for many birds, their coloring comes from what they eat—fruit, plankton,” Logan observed. “Flamingoes, they’re basically ink-makers.” Ink Foraging in Central Park

“A legend is growing in Nepal, where people say a meditating boy hasn't eaten or drunk in seven months. He barely moves, just sits under a tree, still as a stone. It's impossible, some say. Is it a miracle? A hoax? Let's find out.” The Incredible Buddha Boy, by George Saunders

The ten digits of a GN-4 Nixie tube. Wikipedia

Patriotic as HELL

Looking to win a prize at your Fourth of July potluck? Want to be the envy of all the boys down at the pool hall? Eager to gain the acceptance of some terrible religious sect that would just as soon drown you for the heathen you are?

Have I got a recipe for you!

Potato Chip Cookies

(From a butter-stained July 2012 Cook's Country magazine I found on the floor of a closet at work.)

Makes 24 cookies

  • 3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) reduced-fat potato chips*, crushed fine
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted in a dry pan and chopped fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounce) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed** baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, potato chips, pecans, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, granulated sugar, and confectioner's sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture in 3 additions. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and space 3 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten dough balls to 1/4-inch thickness with bottom of floured drinking glass.
  3. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are just set and lightly browned on bottom, 10 to 13 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool completely on sheets, about 15 minutes. Serve. (Cookies can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

* Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat Potato Chips are the thing you need here because they stay crunchy and any other type of chip will be too oily, says Cooks Country magazine. I was afraid Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat Potato Chips were going to be some Gwyneth Paltrow-level nonsense, but it turned out that people actually eat these things and they carried them at my neighborhood grocery store, which is frequented by everyone from transients to bewildered French tourists.

** If, like me, you are not a person who owns three rimmed baking sheets, I grant thee permission to use whatever the hell pan you can find that has a large-ish flat bottom.

And I know you're nnnnnot supposed to eat raw cookie dough, but who are we kidding? This stuff isn't going to wash itself off your hands, it needs help. From your teeth. The dough tastes like the 1950s Midwest to me. Like a fat grandma mixed them up with a wooden spoon that she once used to whip your dad.

But then, while they're baking, the mood lifts and the whole kitchen begins to smell like Christmas.

Finally, once they're baked, cooled, and in your mouth, the taste becomes something wholly different. It's the most delicate, crumbly, toasted-pecan sandie shortbread that I've ever coaxed out of a mixing bowl, and not only am I proud of myself for actually following the directions to the letter, for once, but I experienced a brief inner tremor that, left unexamined, would surely have led to me eating the rest of the cookies, the parchment paper, and the baking sheets, both rimmed and unrimmed, with a cup of roasted dandelion tea (which is so good for your liver and kidneys).



 If you post a cookie recipe, it's polite to show how they came out.