Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Little Cookie

So, we should talk. Yes, I've been gone for eight months, but I've been thinking about you the whole time. I swear. There haven't been other blogs. It's just that, well, once you spend a few months away, suddenly you feel the need to be perfect when you return, and then a little more time passes and then it's so awkward. How do you apologize? How do you start over?

Give me another chance?

This past year has been full of growth and change, a small handful of unwanted surprises, and some really great times spent reconnecting with old Colorado family and friends. There have been deaths, marriage (mine!), running injuries (also mine!), career pursuits, family reunions, a little travel, and lots and lots of wise-acre observations that I haven’t shared in this space. I know, it hurts that you missed it. If you promise to come back and read again, I promise to dish up some more.

What brought about this sudden return? A funny thing, really. I’ve been on the hunt for a good Black and White cookie. They were a late-night-after-too-many-beers-duck-into-a-deli-and-buy-something-that’s-terrible-for-you favorite of mine in New York, and I have been amazed at how difficult they are to find in Denver.

Mmmm. Hello, RECIPE!

For those of you who don’t know them, Black and Whites are the perfect combination of vanilla cake and both chocolate and vanilla frosting, split on the top like the yin/yang symbol. And much like the famous symbol, the cookies walk a careful balance: the frosting is usually too sweet, the cake a little plain, but somehow together they make you feel like you’re five years old and eating something they will probably take away from you if they catch you.

Now, lest you think I'm about to disparage Denver, I must say that in the past year I’ve been pleasantly surprised to be able to find nearly everything here that I could in New York. Denver in 2011 is a very different place than the Denver of my childhood.

However, oddly, I've also found dill to be a difficult score in the Mile-High State: you can pay $3 for a tiny sprig of it at any local grocery store--or you can be smart like me and figure out that the thrifty Russian population in Glendale is not going to pay $3 for a sprig of something they use in every dish. And lo! and behold! Heading to visit the delightful Russian markets, I was awfully pleased (with myself) to find it in huge bunches, like oases for the dill-deprived.

Now, before you feel foolish for not having thought of this yourself, you transplants who are dying for fistfuls of dill, spare a moment to think of my poor husband, who had to tolerate my complaints about there being no dill at the store--on a weekly basis--until a flashbulb went off in my head and I concocted the aforementioned plan. But hey, in my defense, this realization only took me a few months. And to his credit, he hasn't divorced me yet.

Now where was I? Ah, yes. The beloved Black and White cookies.

At a New York-style deli a few weeks ago I ordered a B & W at the counter, only to be told by a very disappointed deli employee that they don’t carry them, because “nobody knows what the heck they are out here and they just end up going to waste.” Tongue is apparently another thing that falls into this category, but I was in no danger of ordering that for lunch. He seemed a little disappointed that I was only half in his court on this one.

So this brings us to this past Friday, when I was stuck in I-25 traffic coming back from a meeting,  and decided to hop off on Hampden to escape the crush. “Isn’t there a New York deli around here?” I thought to myself.

Ah yes, there is. An oasis in this New York comfort food desert: The New York Deli News, opened by former New Yorkers who just might have a little Manhattan Special soda water running in their veins. This may be the only place west of, well, Chicago, where one can buy bialys!

Not to be confused with the NY Daily News!

And they have black and white cookies.

And boy were they good!

What? You want I should wait? Pffft! I started eating it in the car!

New York: 1 point
Denver: Also 1!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Laura. I'm trying to get in touch with Ruttum relatives. I'm the granddaughter of Kari/Carrie Ruttum, who was the sister of Anton Ruttum. Are you by any chance descended from Anton?

    I've been searching the web on this quest for quite a while and kept coming across your many interesting posts for the NYPL. I finally decided to find out if we're related, and the NYPL sent me to your blogs.

    I would love to find a connection, as I've lost touch with that part of the family. But if we simply share an unusual Norwegian name, my time has not been wasted. I've gained a lot by reading your blogs.

    I don't know how to give you my email address without sharing it with the world. If there's a way to post a private comment to your blog, please let me know.

    Or you could Google me.

    Best wishes—

    Kari Boyd McBride
    University of Arizona
    Tucson AZ