Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 10th
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Packed with Peanuts

dining_HotPlateWith June 12 rapidly approaching, I decided to prepare for National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. These snacks formed the basis of my first cooking lesson; placing balls of dough on a cookie sheet and smashing them with the tines of a fork to form the characteristic matrix on top. My mom only allowed cookies that we made from scratch, so needless to say I was frequenting the kitchen by the time of my seventh birthday.

Three cookie recipes calling for chopped peanuts were included in a pamphlet issued by George Washington Carver in 1916. The recipe booklet was an attempt to stimulate demand for the ground nut crop which could replace boll weevil-infested cotton. Peanut butter came into vogue in the 1920s, and in 1923 a Pillsbury cookbook instructed bakers to press the cookie with a fork, presumably to facilitate even cooking of the dense dough. Traditional recipes use 45 percent less flour per cup of fat than do chewy cookies like the Toll House, giving them their signature crumbly texture.

Here in Santa Cruz at Brendon's Bakery (previously the Westside Beckmann's), the vanilla-scented 1.5-ounce Peanut Butter Cookies ($1) contained chips of peanut, were unusually smooth-domed and perfectly crumbly.

An intense peanut aroma wafted from Pacific Cookie Company's two-ounce cookie ($1). It fell into fine crumbles that practically melted in my mouth. It was the only cookie I found that was pressed with a grid pattern. I'm not a purist, really, I do favor the chocolate chip version.

The almost three-ounce cookie at The Buttery ($1.65) was sweet, loaded with peanut halves, and interestingly a bit crumbly and chewy at the same time.

If you must have a chewy cookie, Gayle's in Capitola ($1.25) is that and more. The 1.7-ounce cookie was dotted with peanut halves, and also incorporated big chunks of chocolate.

I'm really glad there's some milk in the fridge.

Brendon's, 2341 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 423-2566. Pacific Cookie Co., 1203 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-6905. Buttery, 702 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-3020. Gayle's, 504 Bay Ave., Capitola, 462-1200.

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Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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