Before I get to those teapots full of daisies, I would like to issue a quick public service announcement, so please bear with me because this is a public service announcement about listening to public service announcements. It isn’t often that northeast Ohio is the topic of national and international headlines, but this summer has been an exception to that rule: from the Cavaliers’ victory to the Republican Convention, our region has been abuzz with news worthy excitement and activity. There is another headline, however, which falls even closer to home. In the past weeks, there has been a terrible increase in heroin overdoses in our area resulting in two deaths. The second of those deaths was that of a young lady from my graduating class. I can’t say I knew her very well, but she always seemed to be very kind, full of laughter and life, and she will be dearly missed in our community. Her death was an absolute tragedy.
Such events have no light in them on this earth, only a glint of the promise of heaven and a new life away from such tragedies and losses. One of the things that most upset me when I heard the news of my classmate’s death was that many of my memories of her were of when we were in the same middle school health classes, listening to the endless lists of the dangerous and fatal results of drug use and the many, many accounts of healthy, bright, and dearly-loved young people whose lives had been laid to waste or ended by addiction and experimentation. In spite of all of the warnings, the horror story repeats itself and more lives are lost everyday.
One hopes that the memories of such tragedies will prevent more in the future, but somehow they don’t. Somehow, even though parents, teaches, and community leaders pour time and energy into educating young people and giving them the information and tools they need to make healthy decisions, drug related deaths and accidents fill headlines everyday.
So, the public service announcement is this: choose not to be un-teachable. As a teenager, your mindset may be that all of the adults who tell you what not to do and what will hurt you are just out to spoil your fun, but have you considered that they are so determined to tell you such things because they care about you and don’t want to see you make the same painful mistakes others have made before you? Please, for your own sake and the sake of the people who care about you, listen to warnings and know that they would not be given without a reason.
Well, thank you for reading my public service announcement, I hope you take the message to heart by actually taking the message to heart. Now, onto a teapot full of daisies. A week ago, I saw something on the Great British Bake-Off that I simply had to try: Flora’s earl grey tea cookies in a box made of lemon honey cookies. It is cookie-ception (or biscuit-ception, since this is the Great British Bake-Off after all and it’s not a cookie over there, it’s a biscuit). My mother was quite right when she said “They had you at ‘earl grey’, didn’t they?” Yes, mom, yes they did. So, a week later, with the help of the recipe provided by the Great British Baking Show website, I have a cookie box of cookies.
I was so impressed with this recipe! The ingredients seem so simple, but the flawless balance of ratios and flavors knocks you off your feet. Because my parents and I can only eat so many cookies, I halved Flora’s recipe to make a small-scale box. In addition to the two superb biscuit/cookie recipes, I made the crumbled candy you see embedded in creamy white chocolate on the earl grey biscuits. That golden goodness is a confection rarely see this side of the Pond, it is called honeycomb. Returning briefly to my public service announcement, if despite the warnings of your elders you want to toy with danger, just make a batch of this honeycomb every week as an alternative addictive substance that is not all that harmful. It has such a unique flavor and texture. Made with just sugar, corn syrup (or golden syrup if you want to be truly British), and baking soda (a.k.a bicarbonate of soda), it has the flavor of a dark caramel, the airy quality of the astronaut ice cream you may have picked up at the science museum gift store as a kid, and a bit of the popping capabilities of Pop Rocks (which seems to be because of the baking soda).
I was nervous about assembling the box, but after piping the decorations I was able to glue everything together with melted white chocolate! I was so happy with the end results, aesthetic and flavorful. Yes, this is how I spend my days off, making ridiculous things out of pastry. Well, that isn’t all, I have also been finishing my London reading list and preparing for the trip, of course! I have read six of the seven King’s Cross Station scenes from Harry Potter, now I just need to read the last scene from the last book—oh and all of the London related poetry that I still haven’t made time to read. My parents and I also re-watched all of the Harry Potter movies in order, which was a nostalgia-filled adventure, ending in my purchasing a dozen pairs of Harry Potter socks.
The UK departure count-down is currently at t-minus 5 weeks, unbelievable.