“Mom, what are butt boosting jeans?” The first of many questions that our kids asked me as we found ourselves lost in the Bronx. There were countless others that followed throughout our time in New York.
“Why does she have ‘I heart NY’ on her butt?”
“How does he get his hair to stick straight up like that?”
And perhaps my favorite I overheard in the back seat. ”WOW! Look at that cool playground.” To which our daughter replied, “Buddy, that’s not a playground. That’s a fire escape.”
These little conversations are important ones, the ones we’ll remember and laugh at for years to come. I often find myself wishing I carried a tape recorder or wrote down their words more often than I do. Yet, seeing things or a place through a child’s eye makes me realize how much of our understanding of the world we take for granted.
We posed for pictures in Grand Central Station, saw the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park, rode the Staten Island Ferry, browsed the books at The Strand, grazed the food trucks parked on Union Square, and spent plenty of time on the subway, which also provided plenty of opportunities for questions.
“What if someone gets sick on the subway? Do they have doctor’s down here?”
“What if I fall through that hole?”
And after hearing the public announcement about reporting sexual assaults witnessed or experienced on the train, our daughter turns to me and asks, “What’s an assault?” The women next to me, who had been listening to their barrage of questions, smiled and says,” I want to hear you explain that one.”
So I explained that assault is very similar to being bullied. If you see someone being bullied or see someone getting hurt, you should always tell an adult. The same thing is true on the train.
The women next to me smiled again and offered up a “very well done,” which gave me a boost of confidence to get through the remainder of the day and know that I could safely return us to our beds that night, unscathed but with stories to tell. Now that I’d answered those questions, I only had to worry about getting us all off the train without one of them dropping through that little hole between the train and the platform that they each found so fascinating.
The little things like the silly putty that our friends gave us during our visit (thanks Patrick!), which kept the kids occupied for hours but are now a petri dish for every conceivable germ known to man, or our new favorite road tripping song, “Say Hey (I Love you)” by Michael Franti & Spearhead, which our son is still singing to himself, surely made the trip memorable.
The little things are important. Little things like almonds for example. Have I mentioned I love almonds? They are my comfort food of sorts. So after a long few days on the road, I was happy to find myself alone in the kitchen and whipped up one of my favorite combinations, Amaretto Almond Biscotti. It’s a classic combination and won’t disappoint!
Amaretto Almond Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs and 1 egg white
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup Amaretto
½ cup whole almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg white, almond extract, and Amaretto.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the almonds. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in half. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
8. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
What to do with the ends #80: Pretend the ends are microphones while singing along on your next roadtrip.