The eyes of the nation are turned toward the upcoming presidential election and the debates that precede it. Will Obama Barack retain his post? Will Mitt Romney be the new chief of the nation? We wait with bated breaths.
I hate to admit this, but I am basically unpolitcal. Yes, I vote in every election -- municipal, state and federal -- and quite a few primaries also. I bone up on the referendum questions and know which way I want to vote on them (except maybe those where a yes vote really mean no and vice versa).
Somewhere between eagerly registering to vote at age 18 and and my disgust at Al Gore losing the 2000 U.S. presidential election despite winning the popular vote (oh, those damn Florida chads ...), I became a politcal agnostic. I believe in the higher political being, but don’t let it rule my life.
Oddly enough, it was because of those my age who opposed the Vietnam War that the twenty-sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was adopted six months before I registered to vote -- lowering the age from 21 to 18.
I have entertained no political aspirations along the way and the only elected office I’ve held was as secretary of the PTG one year -- and had I not gone to the ladies room during the nominations and balloting, I wouldn’t have had that either!
There were a few political demonstrations and rallies in my younger years. One at Quinnipiac College my freshman year protesting the Vietnam War -- "Make love, not war!" "Hell no, we won’t go!" "Eighteen today, dead tomorrow!" and my all-time favorite, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" Another at Williams College the next year on the same issue.
I considered joining the feminist liberation movement and its alleged bra-burning sessions, but quite frankly, even then I was too top-heavy to go braless. Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight.
I don’t do bumber stickers other than for Save the Manatees, my lawn sign says "Labrador retriever crossing" and the only campaign pin I have, inherited from my grandmother, claims "I like Ike."
So then explain it to me -- why my recipe box has quite a few recipes from presidents and first ladies -- Republicans and Democrats alike.
A former co-worker, Lillian Zipperling always brought Nancy Reagan’s Vienna Bars, to the Transcript cookie swap. I didn’t vote for her husband, but Nancy’s bars are a top vote-getter!
Nancy Reagan’s Vienna Bars
1 cup butter
1 1Ž2 cups sugar
2 1Ž2 cups flour
1Ž4 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 egg yolks
10 oz jar jelly (note: I used raspberry jam)
4 egg whites
2 cups chopped nuts (I used finely chopped hazelnuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter, 1Ž2 cup of the sugar, and egg yolks. Add the flour and gently knead or stir until the dough just comes together. Pat the dough flat onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Spread jelly (or jam) over the cookie base and sprinkle over chocolate chips. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in remaining sugar and nuts. Spread egg white meringue over the chocolate and jelly. Bake again for 25 minutes.
Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies
Makes about 36
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flake coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl. In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Note: For 6 dozen (72) smaller cookies, use 2 tablespoons dough for each. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 18 minutes.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.