Remember the song Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer? Minus the beer, that’s how my childhood summers were spent.
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer Those days of soda and pretzels and beer Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer You'll wish that summer could always be here
My cousin Mel came to L.A. last week and after having not seen each other for many years, we had lots of reminiscing to do. Mel and his partner Alex had just come from San Francisco where they had seen the production of A Walk on the Moon. The play is set in a bungalow colony in upstate New York, similar to the one Mel’s family went to during our childhood. Pine Grove Park was located near Monroe, and my Mom, sister, and I would leave the Bronx behind, and go visit and stay with the Blatmans every summer. Our time there really did feel lazy and crazy. Not in the adult sense of the word, but crazy in how free and unsupervised we were. There were two choices of activities, either hanging out at the pool or hanging out in the casino (a building with a pinball machine, ping-pong table, and a jukebox). I don’t remember being bored or restless, and somehow we kept busy, stayed out of our mothers’ hair, and didn’t get into trouble. There were no rules and no restrictions.
While the kids ran around, our Moms mostly played cards, but they must have made time to cook and bake, because we never ate out, and certainly never ordered in. Mel’s Mom was an excellent baker, and I remember her cakes filled with fresh juicy blueberries.
I still look forward to summer. My work schedule is the same, my responsibilities are the same, and my routine is the same, but somehow it feels different. No bungalow colonies, not many lazy days, but there are ways that I can still capture that feeling of being carefree. One of them is baking. So at the beginning of this summer, I decided to bake cookies with my granddaughter. Inspired by a show about pastry chef Christina Tosi who owns Milk Bar Bakery, I used a basic cookie dough, and then did something I had never done before. I put out bowls of Fruit Loops, potato chips, corn flakes, sprinkles, and chocolate chips, all to mix into our dough. No rules and no restrictions. The cookies were fun to make, and fun to eat, and yes, it felt like summer.
Use your favorite cookie dough recipe and add whatever you like. Something basic and simple. Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper
1 stick butter left at room temperature till soft
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups flour
Cream butter with sugars, vanilla and egg. In another bowl mix flour with baking soda and then add to butter mixture. Take tablespoon sized pieces of dough, and add whatever you like!!! Press down on each cookie, gently, to flatten. Bake for about 8-10 minutes but don’t allow to brown. Cool on rack.