I feel like a miss. But lately I’ve been getting ma’amed all over town. I live in a youngish neighborhood by some standards. Perhaps in that context I look especially ma’am-like? I only have a handful of grey hairs. Maybe it’s the fact that my gums are receding and my teeth are just a bit gappier than they were before. I didn’t think that was noticeable.
Just yesterday I was at the supermarket and the young guy who took my shopping cart away asked, “Are you all finished with this, ma’am?” I looked around for an old lady. No such luck. He was referring to me. If you’re going to call me ma’am, then you had better help me with my bags, Sonny. I guess it’s a little better than when I was 22 with short hair and a ratty hoody and people called me sir – on multiple occasions. Or when I was small and my big brother and I had matching bowl cuts. I can still remember a sweet old man riding the elevator with us one day sometime in the early 80’s. He turned and asked “And how are you two gentlemen today?” We smiled amicably and told him that we two gentlemen were doing just great.
The ma’aming doesn’t really bother me. But it does have a funny way of making me reflect on life. Well, let’s be honest, lack of reflecting on my life is probably the source of trouble. Most often I forego a quick mirror check before I leave the house. So I probably have a pencil jammed in my bun, flour on my chin, batter on my sleeves, and I’m wearing athletic sneakers even though I’m not working out. Ah well.
But I do reflect in the other sense: Am I where I wanted to be when I became a ma’am? 35 is plenty young. But it’s not 25. And I suppose that’s just fine. I’m a little older and ever-so-slightly wiser. I can be proud of that. Gus makes me laugh until I cry on a regular basis. I blame him for those happy wrinkles around my mouth and eyes. And I just bought that pretty old blue plate on my trip to San Francisco. It's grandma chic, right? What would a happy grandma do with her vintage plates on a Saturday night? Well, she’d bake some wholesome cookies, drink a cup of tea, and call it day. That’s just what I did.
Chocolate, Banana, Oat Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temparature
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 overripe banana)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Stir in the egg, the banana mash, and the vanilla.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the oats and the chocolate.
3. On two parchment-lined sheets, drop the cookies in 2-tablespoon scoops, at least 2 inches apart. With the back of a spatula, flatten each scoop slightly. Bake until golden brown and set, rotating the sheets halfway through, 8 to 11 minutes. Transfer the sheets to racks and let the cookies cool for a few minutes. Then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.