I met Kirsten at Burning Man in 2011. She's been in my life practically evey day since. Here's to swapping, both then and yet to come!
When I was four, my station wagon driving mom somehow got involved in a cookie swap. She came home one day and filled the freezer with dozens of cookies: shortbread, rum balls, chocolatey things… It was miraculous. That 1970s cookie swap may have been my first, mild exposure to diversity: different cookies, made in a variety of households, all blended together.
Fast forward 12 years. At 16, I took a part time job making pies. An immense amount of patience went into my training: patience that taught me to work quietly and meticulously alone for hours with sugar, eggs and flour.
I worked in bakeries and kitchens for a dozen years. I folded, baked and whipped all manner of things. It put me through college, and sustained me during the years in between. I was supposed to go to cooking school and become a chef. It was all I cared about.
And then I got into journalism school and never looked back. (Well, ok. Sometimes I looked back.)
All this to say: I don’t bake much anymore. But I take baking very seriously. When the second annual Hags and Fags Cookie Swap came up, it gave me an anxiety-inducing thrill. Baking! And lots of different kinds of cookies. And intriguing people. Heaven.
You see, the cookie swap ladies and gents are about as far away from your gossiping Betty-Drapers-who-lunch as you can get. None of us actually has any time to sit around and bake cookies. But we did it.
We gathered at the Dépanneur le Pick Up , a repurposed corner store for punk gourmands near Montreal’s Little Italy. I let my six-year-old stay up past her bedtime. She leaned on the lunch counter and drank something fizzy while we drank something hard.
One at a time, we unwrapped our cookies and comically explained what they are and how they came to be. We sampled and swapped: grandmother’s shortbread, truffles, chocolate pretzels… and the notorious crack bars.
And then we went home and filled our freezers. It was, indeed, miraculous.