Today I’m making wholemeal ginger cookies, using spelt flour and trying to curb the sugar content. These are lovely, light cookies with a deep flavour and soft bite, perfect to go on the side of some hot milk to warm you up on those winter days.
What is Going on?
I’m in a mess. Existentially. Everything I do leaves me in an existential mess these days. Maybe I need to stop saying that word so much. The world is just a mirror of what I put out, so if I say I’m a mess, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy, I’ll always get back what I put in.
Nonetheless, my mind is befuddled and discombobulated, a tangled labyrinth of misdirection. I want to write so desperately, I desire the construction of lucid torrents of letters borne through raging passion which evoke sheer ecstasy in my soul. But my mind gets hoodwinked, led down a dark alley by some shadowy prose, then trampled underfoot by a thousand bleak, staid and anodyne academic papers on the vertical integration of global supply chains.
If you’ve no idea what that last paragraph means, let me explain. I’m studying a masters degree in food policy. I’ve mentioned it quite a few times, partly because it seems to consume my life and partly because it’s utterly fascinating. When there’s an assignment on, I face bucketloads of work as my day fills up with writing, research, referencing and planning. Not to mention the module reading list which is full of impenetrable books that need to be read and remembered alongside papers that should be analysed, lectures to be attended, events to participate in. It’s a lot of work.
It’s Too Much!
But it kills me. It really does. Perhaps you’ve never read a peer reviewed paper or academic text on agrobiodiversity. You might be living in an utter, blissful state of ignorance that a word such as agrobiodiversity even exists; my autocorrect doesn’t think it does. Some of these texts are written in mind-numbingly opaque language, full of twisted tangles of impenetrable intellectualisation. The re-reading of paragraphs has become a new phenomenon to me as the dense language and burgeoning catalogue of freshly discovered portmanteaus stumble into my muddied consciousness.
When I become mired in those academic texts, I feel my creative brain curl up and hide, they do something awful to it. It gets cauterised. One of my favourite books is Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer because of the youthful free spirit that is evoked in that book, which sits in stark contrast to my reading on the commodification of food systems, a dull and lifeless text in comparison.
Save Our Souls!
I pride myself on being a creative person. I love doing creative things, I get a big kick out of writing, enjoy pretty pictures, regardless of how they were created and I get bored with fixing mechanical things. Going back the the analogy of the world being a mirror, how can I retain my ability to cajole words into sparkling, floral prose when my most recent inspiration is the governance of global agribusiness?
Maybe I’m pissed. Y’know, in that American, “I’m pissed” way, not the British “I’m pissed” way. If you don’t know the difference, let me google that for you. The reason for this pissedness is that feedback on my most recent assignment just came back, containing praise for it’s analytical content, but also stating that my “writing is acceptable but not fluent”. Jesus. I mean, seriously, what the actual fuck? Either I’ve dropped the ball, monumentally, and submitted an assignment full of turgid impenetrability or I’ve adopted the literary style of my nemeses. Only God can save me now.
In this desperate chasm of despair, what can I do? Eat cookies. God damn, yeah, eat cookies, ginger cookies. I’ve become obsessed with ginger this last month. Everything I do has to involve ginger. I made a beautiful Ottolenghi okra recipe with ginger and tomatoes last weekend which was simple, and incredibly tasty. I keep on making my own golden milk and I’ve made a chunky soup with more than a soupçon of ginger in it’s base. Ginger is the ingredient du jour.
With so much ginger in the air, it was only a matter of time until the baking section of the blog became adorned with another ginger-based recipe, after my dark and fiery rye ginger cake went down a storm last year. A quick turning out of the cupboard revealed everything I needed to make some awesome, dark, fiery ginger cookies. These cookies are light, they are relatively fluffy and I’ve tried to curb the sugar slightly, keeping it to a minimum and hence the calories as low as possible. Not to mention that lovely wholegrain flour will give you more micronutrients than regular white flour.
Just writing this makes me want to make another batch, I think it might be time to get the oven heated up again…
Wholemeal Ginger Cookies
By Gavin Wren
Makes 16 cookies
Uses a baking sheet and an electric mixer.
100g butter, at room temperature
150g soft dark brown sugar
1 large egg
100g wholemeal spelt flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
30g very finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
In a medium sized bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, then add the egg as well. Stir in the remaining ingredients until just combined, don’t over-stir.
Place balls of the mixture that are approximately 2 tablespoons onto a greaseproof paper lined baking sheet. Leave plenty of space between them as they will spread as they cook. You will need to cook in batches, unless you have several baking sheets.
Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes then leave to cool for 5 minutes, before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container if you don’t plan on consuming them all immediately. It’s a tough decision to make.