Dried Fruit is the New Cookie

I’ve gone almost two months without a real cookie (unless you count merengues for Passover and oatmeal/pumpkin eggles flourless cookies that turned into more of a souffle).  As a dessert person, these last couple months haven’t been exactly easy. (Oh, and this all started at Girl Scout time, so insult and injury became besties).

I remember as a child being allergic to chocolate and having to pick off the chocolate from bakery cookies. Or rather, my mom having to pick it off.  We’d get the rainbow sprinkled ones or the seashell shaped ones with the powdered sugar on top or the half moon or heart shaped sugar cookies and before I could eat them, I’d bring them to my mom to cut off the pieces of the cookie that had been cross-contaminated with chocolate.  It was a long process and sometimes the batch we’d get have too many chocolate pieces to make it work, but on the occasions we’d get some clean cookies, I remember it being awesome and so exciting, and one time, I remember being lazy and not cleaning the cookie and eating a teeny bit of chocolate (think a crushed sprinkle) and I was mostly fine and that’s when I knew I could soon try chocolate for real and become a normal kid.  That sprinkle meant the ability to someday eat a Twix or an M&M or have chocolate cake at my birthday party.

Have you ever thrown a birthday party for a bunch of 9 year olds without chocolate cake? It’s not so easy. I remember my ninth birthday really vividly, my sister had baked this vanilla ice cream cake and worked all day on it so I could have a special cake (thanks again!!!) and when she brought it to the table and everyone sang, two of my best friends (who I absolutely still love and harbor no ill will against, because 9 year olds are always 9 year olds and it’s kind of cute) started chanting, “Chocolate cake! Chocolate cake! Chocolate cake!” Luckily for them, my mom had also bought a bakery cake (because my lack of chocolate meant I got to have two vanilla options – that may have been the precursor to my celebrating my birthday for three weeks), which the bakery had sworn was chocolate free. But when we cut into it – mocha filling. After some crying, I found it in me to be so happy my sister had decided to bake me the ice cream cake so I could have birthday cake, and my friends got to eat their chocolate cake, and even though I felt sad to be the only one of my peers eating the ice cream cake, I was grateful and hopeful for the day I’d get to eat chocolate and actually chant with my friends and eat two kinds of cake and not hate bakeries.

And lo and behold, I was able to eat chocolate a year or so later, maybe even just a few months. It was a magical experience which we’ll cover here soon. But I could eat chocolate from about 1996 until March 6, 2012 and so tapping into that memory makes me realize that my dessert-less days aren’t over. I can play around with gluten-free vegan nut-free cinnamon free xanthan gum free recipes (once it’s worth using a ton of ingredients per food because I’ll be off my each food three times a week only diet) but I also know I will be able to eat real desserts soon. And much like that vanilla ice cream cake, or the half cookies, I can find a substitute. Now, it’s dried fruit. Raisins, pineapples. Tomorrow I’m being brave and trying a banana which seems foul but hey, I’m hungry. And for all I know, when cookies come back on the table, when December 2nd hits and I’m eating a giant chocolate cake, I’ll think, “Where’s the dried pineapple? That shit is goooood.” I mean, I still do prefer vanilla Oreos. They seem like more of a part of who I am, and food nostalgia is a pretty powerful thing.

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