I have no words to express my sorrow for the loss of 26 lives in Newtown, CT. Those poor children and their brave teachers deserve more than my fitful attempts at meaning or outrage. So instead, because food is love and love is comfort, I leave you with the words of Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. It is not often that a cookbook makes me cry; in this case, it’s only this cookbook and this particular recipe. I offer it up in hopes that it provides some comfort.

Pecan or Angel Slices

Many a copy of the “Joy” has been sold on the strength of this recipe. One fan says her family is sure these are the cakes St. Peter gives little children at the Gates of Heaven, to get them over their first pangs of homesickness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line a pan with dough as for nut bar cookies and bake as directed. Spread with the following mixture:

2 beaten eggs

1 1/2 C brown sugar

1 C chopped pecan meats

1/2 C flaked coconut

2 T flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

If preferred, omit the coconut and use 1 1/2 C nut meats instead. Bake for 25 minutes. When cool, ice with:

1 1/2 C sifted confectioners sugar

thinned to a good spreading consistency with

Lemon juice

Cut into bars.

Reprinted from The Joy of Cooking, 1973. (One of the things I love about The Joy of Cooking is that there’s no coddling. Figure out what kind of spreading consistency you want and do that.)

Baking cookies is such a small response in the face of such great evil. And yet, we are not helpless. We can stand together and fight the sickness that has afflicted the US for far too many years; the idea that gun massacres are the price we pay for a “free” society. We are not free. We are collectively held captive by an idea that we can have rights without responsibilities and constraints. This is an adolescent response and we are an adolescent nation. It’s time to grow up.

This is a huge complex problem and it will need a complex, multipart solution. It is not just gun safety, and it’s not just mental health, and it’s not just banning assault rifles, and it’s not just right to carry, and it’s not just the Second Amendment and the NRA. It’s all of these things, and we have to address all of it.

I’m torn between sadness and rage but I am not helpless. I am determined. However long it takes, we must turn the tide and stop this sickness.

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