When I was eight years old I wanted to be president, the first woman president. Being young and lacking worldly judgement it never occurred to me that my declaration of a life dream could cause laughter. But, laughs, in fact, I heard. It was at a slumber party for a classmate that I learned a pretty valuable life lesson. While hosting a gaggle of girls naturally the theme for the party was a beauty pageant. Each “contestant” decorated her own sash and competed in such events as swim wear (cannon balls) and talent (lip syncing to Paula Abdul). Then came the interview segment. The pageant host (birthday girl’s father) interrogated the contestants with gripping questions like “what’s your favorite flavor of Kool-aid” or “which New Kid On the Block would you marry?” My turn came and I strutted my way to the host. He complemented me on my hot pink feathered boa and plastic Barbie heels. Then he asked me the question. The question that would give rise to my sophisticated answer and provoke the laughter stuck in my memory forever. “Amy, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I confidently answered, “I want to be the first woman President.” Then came the snickers from the “judges” (beer guzzling fathers). “Don’t you mean First Lady?”, one of them chuckled to me. I remember this moment very clearly. It could be considered the moment I grew up. It was the moment I realized not all adults are right. And somehow I knew that things may be a little different for me than for, say, my older brother. I promised myself then and there that I would never cave to anyone else’s misconceptions and I would always stand firmly in my beliefs, especially in myself. I’m also proud to say that my father was in no way associated with these “gentlemen”. He would never have laughed at me. He would never have belittled me. He would always give me encouragement. I’ll also be forever grateful that I was raised by a strong woman who taught me that sometimes the popular way might not always be the right way. If I didn’t have the love and support of my wonderful parents I might not have had the capacity to understand those men were wrong. Granted, I’m not going to be the first woman President. I’ve got other plans now. But, that doesn’t mean another girl can’t have her dream come to fruition. In fact, I just voted for our 2012 election and there were more women on my ballot than men. Maybe a woman president will happen soon.
The American President is one of those movies that is always played on TBS or TNT and every time it’s on I have to watch it. I’m looking at you too Shawshank Redemption. Do you too find there are fictional characters that you really wish you could vote for in real life? Hey, Leslie Knope, why aren’t you running for my state representative? President Andrew Shephard is also a name I’d like to see on the ballot. Maybe it’s the dialogue crafted by the words-man Aaron Sorkin. Or maybe it’s the strong character expressed through the gravely voice and the steely eyes of Michael Douglas. Whatever it is, I feel connected to this man personally. I root for him. I want him to lead me. Why can’t this be real life? Well, because real life isn’t directed by Rob Reiner. But, wouldn’t it be awesome if it was? Until then…
Let’s bake a movie…
Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Frosting
Do you want to know the secret to why everyone seems to love my sugar cookies? It’s very simple really. Almond extract. Be sure to add the almond extract. Don’t have any in your cabinet? Get some. The flavor, the smell are so rich and yummy. These cookies bake to perfection. Crispy on the outside but soft and smooth on the inside. And smothering them in frosting certainly only increases the value. Enjoy!
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 can of white/vanilla store bought frosting (it works best with technique below)
Red, blue, green food coloring
1) In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth (about 2 mins). Add the egg and mix until well incorporated, scraping down the sides. Blend in the almond extract, vanilla, and salt. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour in two parts. Mix until just combined and a dough forms. Dived dough in half, wrap each in cellophane. and flatten into a disc. Chill dough until firm (30 mins to 1 hour).
2) Preheat oven to 375. On a well floured work surface, roll out one section at a time to 1/4 inch thickness. Lightly flour cookie cutter and cut out as many cookies as you can and place on a cookie sheet. Ball up and then flatten out remaining dough and repeat until all dough is used. Repeat with other section of dough, If the dough gets too soft while you’re working with it simply pop it back in the freezer to chill for a bit. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully to see that they don’t brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack.
3) To frost the cookies, scoop a third of the frosting into a small bowl. Melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. The frosting should become soupy and no longer thick and clumpy. Carefully dip the top of the cookie into the melted frosting. Hold over bowl for a couple of seconds to allow extra drippings to fall back in the bowl. Place cookie on wax paper and allow frosting to cool and harden. Add either food coloring to melted frosting until desired color is reached. Sometimes reheating the frosting will enhance the color. Repeat the dipping I process. If you would like to add sprinkles be sure to do so before the frosting cools and hardens.
Source: Cookies adapted from Annie’s Eats