I remember when jalapeño poppers rose to fame in the 1990’s. I fondly recall being sixteen and going out to eat with my high school sweetheart at a favorite local Mexican food restaurant in our small town and always ordering the jalapeño poppers – fiery hot peppers filled with cooling cream cheese, battered and deep fried until the jalapeños were tender and the cream cheese was oozing. I don’t specifically remember anything else on the menu because the poppers were just about the only thing I ever ordered.
I can imagine no better Mother’s Day than waking to breakfast in bed prepared by my pajama-clad clan including handwritten notes, strong mugs of coffee, one of my most favorite recipes, big hugs and kisses, and a memorable gift all enjoyed over a leisurely, snuggly morning.
Lately, my go-to afternoon beverage of choice has been a London Fog – a homemade cup of floral Earl Grey, a splash of mellowing vanilla, and a copious glug of cream. There hasn’t been a day so far this month that I haven’t enjoyed one. Those daily pick-me-ups are the inspiration for these delightfully chewy, crackly vanilla bean sugar cookies scented with Earl Grey tea leaves. They are subtle and beautiful and comforting the way lingering long over a cup of tea should be.
During breakup season, we Alaskans break up with a lot of things. We break up with slushy roads and icy conditions. Good riddance. We break up with prolonged darkness and nights so black the constellations glow and the northern lights dance. We break up with the daily ordeal of making sure our children have every single last piece of snow gear packed in their backpacks. Can somebody please tell me where all the gloves go? We break up with our snow shovels, snowblowers, snow machines and studded snow tires. We break up with auto starting our vehicles and scraping our windshields. And inevitably each spring, we break up with last year’s salmon we have sitting in our freezers.
The bread is toasted and golden now, filling the cabin with undeniable aroma of French toast. One slice goes down on the plate, promptly smeared with sweetened cream cheese and layered with fresh strawberries, then topped with another steaming hot slice. The cream cheese begins to fall over the edges, the strawberries peeking out. I dust the plate with powdered sugar like a light snowfall and take it to the table where the syrup is waiting and the light is still pouring in, reflecting back at me in pools of maple.