I have until now, never ever EVER seen such a magnanimous transformation of character before in my LIFE!!!
There is cute little stationary shop around the corner from my flat, that I frequent. However, I have never felt very welcomed there. each time I enter, I am followed by the piercing eyes of the lady at the counter. They never leave my sight and stick to me like unwanted superglue. Her behavior is equally piercing, harsh and plain crude. I soon realised that it was nothing personal as each costumer that entered the shop is greeted in the same manner.
About a month ago, I headed into the shop to buy some nice bags into which I could put some freshly made peanut butter cookies to give as gifts. the bags were nowhere to be found and I was forced to speak to the lady at the counter. I asked her for the bags and received a bark in response;
“if you dont see it, its not there!
I paused a moment, and said;
“OK…would you possibly have any thing else into which I could put some cookies and send them as a gift?”
Reply: “ we have no cookies”
Me: I know, but I DO, and I would like to find something into which I can send them via post.
She rolled her eyes and walked away from me. I could NOT believe how rude she was being and decided to give her back one of her piercing gazes.
Reply: “was denn?!” meaning basically “What?!?!?!?!”
Nothing managed to come out of my mouth. Instead, I watched her, sunk my hands into my rucksack and handed her some of my cookies.
please do not ask me for the logic behind this action. It just happened ok!
She looked at me strangely…skeptically and wearingly, took the cookies, looked at them as if I had given her a piece of I do not know what, placed it on the counter and walked away.
Whatever! I then left.
The incident clearly did not phase me for too long, because I completely forgot it and a couple of days ago when I re-entered the shop.
Then this occurred;
I went into the shop and proceeded to get what I wanted. When I looked up, I realised that there was a long long line at the counter. Everyone was looking around for the lady. Then we spotted her on the phone in the back. She saw the line and really just ignored it.
After about 4 minutes (I kid you NOT)…she slowly walked over. Not a word. Everyone in the line just looked at each other in amazement.
She looked up, saw me, and smiled.
Yes, she smiled. I thought it was have been a weird reflex reaction or something. There was no way that this was an actual smile on her face.
I watched her.
We all watched her. Then she blurted out:
“Sie waren Sau lecker…aber Sau lecker..Sie waren echt geil”! ( this can be loosely translated as; “They were extremely delicious, but really delicious, they were really awesome.” The literal translation would be something like this “They were pig delicious, but pig delicious, they were really horny!!”. Hmmm, Germans use the word “Geil” (horny) in slang to express the term“awesome” or “wicked” depending on where you live; USA or the UK. The word “Sau” means literally pig, which is like adding a superlative affirmation to the subsequent adjective.
At any rate, I, and the rest of us in the line watched, and blinked, watched and blinked, with perplexed looks on our faces.
Then she shouted out “The cookies, sie waren ein Gedicht; translated as: “the cookies; they were a poem”.
Oh, thats what she was talking about! the cookies! We smiled at each other for a couple of seconds and thanked her, assuming that she would further attend to the people in line.
No, she was not having it!
She continued talking to me….about her weekend in the East where she comes from, about the great fish from where she comes, and so on and so forth. I felt so uneasy, because I was so afraid to break this outpour of “connection.” But on the other hand the people in the line were not happy and confused.
I made desperate attempts to get out of the conversation, but she was very skilled in being able to rope me back in. After what seemed like several minutes, I found a way and left the shop, much to the people who were behind me in the line.
I arrived home, thought about what had occurred and started laughing to myself. Yes, my neighbors must think I am mad!!! But, I was touched by the turnaround, and realised how simple it could be at times to touch someone!
Here is the recipe for the cookies which transformed the lady at the counter;
- Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine, January, 1998
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of unsalted butter left at room temperature
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (any sort)
- 1(2 cup of tahini
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
- Beat butter, peanut butter and vanilla in large bowl until well blended.
- Beat in both sugars. Scrape down sides of bowl. Stir half of dry ingredients into mixture.
- Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- Mix in remaining dry ingredients.
- For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough into 1 3/4-inch-diameter ball.
- Arrange dough balls 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using back of fork, flatten dough balls and form crosshatch design on tops. Bake cookies until dry on top and golden brown on bottom, about 11 to 14 minutes depending on the texture you desire (less for chewy, more for crispy). Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)