I love my job. It’s not “just a job” that I have to drag myself to each day. I love creating meals. I love that we emphasize simple, comforting, and healthy food at Loyola House. I love that we nourish and positively impact so many people with our creations from the kitchen. There is a unique relationship between cook and guest, that is difficult for me to articulate, this is maybe draft number 7, but I will try. I put my passion, love, and prayers into the food I create for you. And you trust my skills as a cook and eat what I’ve created. We may never speak to each other, but a bond is created nevertheless. I care about you as a guest at Loyola House, whether you’re here for a season or an afternoon.
On the Ignatius Jesuit Centre property in Guelph, where Loyola House is located, there is also a Jesuit cemetery. Jesuits who die in this area are buried on the property. After the burial, friends and family come to Loyola House to sit and mourn or celebrate the life of their loved one, and we provide coffee and cookies. So often I want to offer a hug, but I am shy, and they are strangers, so instead I put the hug into the food and hope it translates.
And so, with that lengthy preamble, comes the news that there will be the funeral and then the burial for Jim Webb, previous Provincial of the Jesuits of English Canada, this afternoon. I did not know Jim well, but I am saddened by his death.
When I first heard he had died, my instinct was to bake. My favourite cookies are our Molasses Cookies. I don’t even have to try to imbue them with hugs. Comfort is released with every bite. It’s a wonderful dough that can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge until fresh cookies are desired. For a chewy texture, they only need 12 minutes in a 350 F oven. Eat them slowly to savour the orange flavour – they are excellent!
Beat together until smooth – continue beating at high speed until fluffy…
1 c brown sugar
¾ c butter or becel
½ c molasses
1 T lemon juice
2 t vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
Sift together and stir in to wet ingredients…
2 ½ c whole wheat flour
2 ½ t baking soda
1 t each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
2 t ginger
(1/2 t cardamom – optional)
¼ t salt
Let dough sit for at least half an hour so it is not sticky. (If it is sticky, stir in a little more flour). Roll into small balls and roll balls in coarse sugar. These cookies are designed to rise and then fall, giving them their distinctive crinkled surface.