Moving is tiresome. Not the cleaning and packing and evaluating your possessions part. We’re good at that part. I’m talking about the “almost but not yet” aspect, where you’ve mentally vacated your current digs but it’s not quite time to go yet. The part where every conversation begins with, “So when is your last day again?” (short answer: under two weeks, eek!). We’re tired of talking about it and ready to get going. Or not. Just no more limbo, please!
I suppose at this point I should be pursuing one of two paths:
- Relax and enjoy your remaining time with friends.
- Hunker down and figure out what you’re going to do with your life in Detroit. (Work? Grad school? Random unrelated people have also suggested goats, which is both baffling and intriguing. Is it a sign? Am I supposed to have goats?)
With these options in mind, obviously I am hiding out drinking box wine and watching Netflix instead.
And making five ingredient tahini cookies.
Because, you see, while J’s new company may be paying for our move (!) and even packing our stuff for us (!!), the one thing they won’t take (well, besides a 6′ tall ficus lyrata–that’s another issue altogether) is food. And it’s not like I want to take everything in our cupboards, anyways. Specifically, I am not moving almost 900 miles with two opened jars of tahini paste and 72 bottles of spices. That’s crazy talk. As my dad always quipped while watching us pack the car before a vacation, “You know, they do have stores where we’re going.”
But then there’s my mother’s voice, cheerfully chirping (in imitation of her mother), “Waste not, want not!” as she thwarts my efforts to throw away a dented can of beans that expired in 2011. While I am a born pragmatist, I also have generations of thrifty women clucking over my shoulder every time I so much as think of throwing something out. Even if it will probably give me botulism.
And free food? While I may be gluten-free, you better believe the pull of free food is still hard to resist. I’ve somehow managed to pass this on to J (perhaps unfortunately), and he snags pizza from school events in a Tupperware, and chows down on bread ends at work. On a walk to the grocery store last week, I found a bunch of leeks on the ground that had fallen out of someone’s bag and I was so pumped. Free leeks, guys! Ordinarily leek soup wouldn’t be a big deal, but rescued leek soup was the highlight of my week.
While our obsession with “saving” the free and discounted from destruction is occasionally financial, I’ve come to realize it’s largely moral. We live in a food system so abundant that we can “afford” to waste 30-40% of our food supply. That waste is equivalent to the net food production of all 48 sub-Saharan African countries. And somehow, amidst this overwhelming abundance, we’re still dealing with hunger. Not even on a world scale, but nationally: While we throw away over 20 pounds of food per person per month, 14% of American households still struggle with food insecurity. It’s not a problem of supply, but distribution.
In other words, maybe my grandmother was right. But “waste not, want not” can be delicious, too! Just look at these tahini cookies: chewy, savory-sweet, addictively more-ish, and perfect with a cup of strong coffee or honeyed tea. Better than two wasted jars of sesame paste, eh?
Even if you aren’t cleaning out your pantry, these beauties can be yours in five ingredients and half an hour. Boom, magic. And then you can get right back to apartment hunting and strategizing how to fit two cats, camping supplies, and one enormous yet fragile ficus lyrata into your Prius. Wish us luck, dear readers.
- 1 egg
- 150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar (up to 200g, or 1 cup, if you prefer a sweeter cookie)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 240g (1 cup) tahini paste*
- 2 teaspoons rosewater or vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- sesame seeds and dried rose petals, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment. Set aside.
- Mix tahini briefly on low speed in bowl of mixer with a paddle attachment if it's separated, until mostly homogeneous. Add remaining ingredients and mix just until everything comes together and the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix, as this can cause the oil to separate.
- Crumble some rose petals into a small bowl and pour in a tablespoon of sesame seeds. Roll dough into 1" balls and coat in sesame mixture, then space 2" apart on prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake 12-15 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes, then gently remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- *Use a mild-tasting, thick tahini from a Middle Eastern brand, as opposed to the health food store varieties made from unhulled sesame seeds. Unhulled seeds yield a slightly bitter cookie.