Baskets of New York State cranberries made me smile at the farmers market on Sunday. I had no idea they grew in my home state. Inexplicably, learning that they do brightened my day. I bought a quart, and now I smile again every time I open the fridge and spot those taut little rubies.
I’m struggling. Every so often I stumble into a trough of depression, and right now I can feel my feet slipping out from under me. Getting back into therapy is forcing me to look at things I’ve been trying to ignore, and that hurts.
Parents Need to Eat Too was born as Words to Eat By ten years ago this past Saturday. A decade of blogging is no small feat, and I’ve been trying to write a commemorative post for two weeks now. Ten Memories for Ten Years, I’m calling it, but I’m stuck at memory number five, when I realized that my cooking class for new parents might make a good book. It seems I don’t have much to say after that.
I don’t have much to say about the Imperfect Family Kitchen, either. When the responses started pouring in to that post and the Washington Post picked it up, I wondered if perhaps this would be my book two after all. But I can’t make myself focus on exactly what form that would take.
Instead I’m doing what I’ve always done when depression begins to press down on me—I fight it off with food. Eating, yes, but also cooking and baking. Going through those motions makes me feel normal, at least for a little while.
Today I pushed back armed with bright, tart berries. I played around with simple snack cake ideas until I found one that made me—dare I say it—happy. It only uses one bowl, one whisk, and a spatula. An egg serves as the only leavener. The almond extract and cinnamon add depth, but you can skip them if you like. And the end result tastes sunny and sweet, but bursts of mouth-puckering, jammy cranberries keep it from cloying.
Another reason to smile, today.
One-Bowl Cranberry Snack Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour [all-purpose works, too]
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg until it’s foamy. Whisk in the sugar, then the melted butter and almond extract.
- Whisk in the flour, cinnamon, and salt until just mixed. Stir in the cranberries, then transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish. Spread it evenly in the dish with a spatula.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until top is golden brown and cranberries have burst.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 9 squares.