We can't go back in time, and yet, if we could, what would we change?
A flurry of websites and videos tackles this question. If you haven't seen Dear 16-Year-Old Me, a public service announcement raising awareness of melanoma, it's worth a watch. The video makes use of humor and real, relatable people to offer teenagers tips -- from their future adult selves -- on how to prevent skin cancer. It will move you to tears, and leave a big impact.
Another site focusing on an inter-generational transfer of knowledge is 40:20 Vision. Here, women in their 40s pass along life lessons to women in their 20s, and women in their 20s seek advice on thorny personal and career issues from women in their 40s.
And then, of course, there's It Gets Better, perhaps the best-known recent example of adults advising youth to hang in there and stay true to themselves during extremely difficult times.
To bring this theme around to food, which is why you're here, think about this: what advice around eating / dieting / nutrition / indulging might you give the younger-you? Anything?
Dear 16 Year Old Me:
Scarf as many Stouffer's French bread pizzas as you like, because by the time you’re an adult, you’ll think they’re nasty / Relish your grandma’s lemon meringue pie because, even though you hate it, one day she'll be gone / If you Can't Believe It's Not Butter, there's a very good reason / Give scallops a second chance / Lawry's is not the only seasoning / General Foods International Coffees are not as sophisticated as you think they are / Tell Vidhya the curry smells delicious, and you'd like to stay for dinner / Pinch the top of the OJ carton before shaking it, especially around friends, especially, especially around boys / Don't butter your bread before toasting it / There's good fat and bad fat, refined wheat and whole wheat, and hilarious health claims on things like cereal and sweetened water / You will be marketed to everywhere you go, all the time, so stay strong and resolute / And please, don't sweat the burnt bottoms of all those homemade cookies -- turns out, you just had thin, crappy cookie sheets / In other words, some things are not your fault, little one /
They're not your fault at all /
Recipe for Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies with cacao nibs
I like cookies more and more as I get older, but I like them less and less sweet. I tinker and I play, but I generally start with a tried and true base recipe. This cookie is adapted from classic peanut butter cookies in The Grand Central Bakery Cookbook. My variation goes whole grain and gets a bitter edge from cacao nibs. I'm not sure the 16-year-old me would approve, but she's not around to complain.
As with all homemade cookies, heavy-gauge cookie sheets generally produce the best results. If you're a relatively new baker and tend to burn the bottoms of your cookies, yours may be too thin. Try doubling them and seeing what happens.
Yields 50-55 cookies
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup (salted) peanut butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup cacao nibs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, oats, soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape in the peanut butter and continue creaming until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the two extracts. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions. Fold in the cacao nibs by hand, using a rubber scraper, and make sure any floury bits hiding on the bottom of the bowl are unearthed and fully absorbed.
Use a 1-1/2 inch scoop to portion the dough. Press down with the pads of two fingertips to flatten slightly. Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool, and serve with milk.