Cookies, chaos and connections

The ringing of a doorbell.  The sound of a beater creaming butter and sugar.  Orders shouted every few seconds muffling the cracking of the eggs.  “I need a spatula.” “Give me two more mixing bowls.”  “These have to be very, very cold.  Put them in the frig right away.” The doorbell chiming again..and again…and again.  Intense concentration for brief intervals, then fifteen mouths all babbling at once.  Two people left standing on the porch, because eventually the doorbell can’t be detected over the din. Husband trapped in his workshop for hours.  Welcome to “Talk Time,” another term for chaos.

Seriously, Talk Time is supposed to be a formal English conversation experience for people who are not native speakers.  My friend Linda, who has been leading her particular group for years, found the “official” structure too confining, so has adjusted her sessions to respond to whatever the participants want and need.  Traditionally, she has invited them to make Christmas cookies with her, but with her house undergoing a remodel she was unable to do this. That’s where my kitchen came into the picture.  The result of today’s Talk Time? Lot’s of conversation in English, but also in Japanese and Korean.  The only Chinese speaker was left to fend for herself, which she easily did because her English was so good.   Everyone left with boxes of pink frosted Valentine’s cookies, lemon bars, and a rolled-up cookie with a German-sounding name, which was filled with orange marmalade, nuts, cinnamon and sugar.  Apart from having fun together, I think the real benefit came when everyone sat down for a few minutes, introduced themselves (there were a few newcomers who had been invited by the regulars), and started trading information and tips to help each other navigate the world they are now living in, whether it be understanding the school system, the college application process, or even sharing information about a fixer-upper house for sale close to the parent’s school of choice, and a recommendation for a contractor.   Immigrant families often need help building their own networks here and Linda’s version of Talk Time smooths the way.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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2 Responses to Cookies, chaos and connections

  1. Evelyn Cogswell says:

    I could hear the din of conversation and feel the excitement of the bakers. Thanks for sharing this scene. Are the recipes ones you would also enjoy sharing?

  2. Pingback: Cooking as a social event | Still Life

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