Friends, I have fulfilled a New Year’s resolution. Since the beginning of this year, I started up a “cookie salon” with a handful of friends and my sister (who is also a friend, btw).
What is a Cookie Salon?” you might ask.
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry, “either to please or to educate” (“aut delectare aut prodesse est”). Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th century and 18th centuries, were carried on until quite recently, in urban settings, among like-minded people.
Mostly, it’s an excuse to eat cookies and feel like we’re doing something important, intellectual and artistic.
We’re pretty much just making it up as we go along – no hard and fast rules have been set. It should be stressed that the meeting’s featured cookies are, indeed, included as “participants.” In other words, in keeping with the above conversation, we aim to increase our knowledge of the participants (i.e., cookies and one another) through conversation.
We’re meeting approximately once a month, choosing a different theme each time. So far we’ve had:
1) Oatmeal Salon
2) Nut Butter/Nut Flour Salon
upcoming salon: New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie
The idea is to make a cookie (a couple of overachievers in the group have made 3-5 different cookies per salon) relating to the chosen theme and then pack a dozen or so in a tin and meet a neighborhood pub where they don’t seem to pay much attention to six women sitting at a mini-hoffbrau table with an abnormal amount of (not the pub’s) cookies spread out before them. And then to simultaneously taste each cookie, one-by-one, discussing and pontificating as we go. This is what it basically is: cookie monsters geeking out on cookies the way that only cookie monsters who also bake (and not just eat) cookies are able to do.
Like, we’ll talk about what happens when you use baking powder and not soda, how less flour and more oats make a chewier cookie, etc. Or if we like golden raisins better than Thompson. Or apricots better than raisins. Or how processed peanut butter behaves in comparison to natural peanut butter. Or how the Gourmet Cookbook recipe stacks up next to Dorrie Greenspan’s. Important stuff like that.
I am now posting photos and notes from Oatmeal Salon and Nut Butter/Nut Flour Salon -and will post a report for each ensuing salon.
Membership is open. No annual dues required (apart from bringing cookies to the table. Literally.)
Inquire within for more details.