Saturday, 5 July 2008

The Cookie Project - Part 4

And so begins the long and sad process of saying goodbye to our friends here in Canada. The end of the school term was a particularly bittersweet moment for me. I felt the inevitable relief of a teacher - having been dealing with classes of increasingly hot, fractious and unwilling-to-work children, the idea of sending them all home to their parents for 2 months was a very attractive one. However, I have also had a fantastic time teaching here, in particular at St Paul's Catholic Elementary School in nearby Alliston. This is the school where I have done the vast majority of my supply teaching over the last year, teaching in all of the 11 classes and also often teaching French (tres drole!). Over the year I have got to know the children really well, and also the wonderful staff. I'd like to hope that my popularity at St Paul's had something to do with me being a capable teacher, but I suspect it also had something to do with my blatant attempts to gain favour by regularly bringing tins of cookies into the staffroom... If there's one thing that schools across the world have in common it's the appetites of the staff for baked goods!

During my final week I wanted to bring in one last batch of cookies to say thank you to my friends there, so chose a new recipe from Martha's 'Cookies' - Lime Meltaways. This was my first attempt at this kind of dough, one where you roll it into a cylinder, refrigerate (or freeze) and then slice and cook. The process was strangely satisfying, especially when you get to speedily slice the cookies; it's great to be able to get them from fridge to oven within minutes. I felt that it's the kind of thing that you should always keep in the fridge for when the craving for freash cookies strikes.

The finished cookies are a citrussy shortbread and have, as their name suggests, a melting texture. They are delicate and elegant, and not too sweet. I had also made a batch of my favourite chocolate chip cookies (using the recipe on the back of the Chipits chocolate chips packet) and it was interesting to see how the two tins of cookies disappeared... those in desperate need of a quick sugar rush went straight for the chocolate, but the cookie connoisseurs took the time to appreciate the quiet appeal of these lime meltaways. I felt that I had managed to please all-comers, and will definitely be making these shortbreads again. I can visualise serving them as after-dinner petit-fours with coffee. If only I ever had elegant dinner parties...

As an aside, I was asked to come along to the St Paul's staff end-of-term lunch. I was surprised and delighted to be presented with a lovely goodbye gift from the staff, a wonderful book called 'Anita Stewart's Canada'. It is not just a recipe book, but full of tales behind the hugely varied cuisine that this great country calls its own. I have since been reading about Anita Stewart and she too has a blog, all about her latest book tour across Canada.

Here's what the staff had written inside the book for me: "God must have looked down at St Paul's School and thought 'something's missing', so He sent us Kate; someone who could fill any one of our shoes with ease, someone who was talented, and so willing to share, someone funny (cause He knows we love to laugh), and someone who knew just how much we loved home-baked cookies!!"

What a wonderful gift. I'll miss everyone there so much and will think of St Paul's every time I cook from this book.