September 28, 2020
Folks, I have some difficult news for my friends, clients, and even me, to swallow. So, what better way to take bad news, than with a delightful chocolate chip cookie? What was it that Mary Poppins use to sing: “…a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” These colossal triple chocolate, chocolate chip cookies will definitely soothe tough news. And my recipe is shared for the very first time.
In April 2019 I was diagnosed with Pleomorphic Soft Tissue Sarcoma. After a thirty-day round of radiation last summer, a grapefruit size tumor in my right thigh was removed in September 2019, with clear margins. Yet, we knew the trajectory of this rare cancer goes immediately to lungs – and that it did in December, 2019.
The doctors at Moffitt gave me 6 to 12 months to live. One doctor saying: “…you will feel good, until you don’t.”
In March my left arm broke for cancer had traveled into my bones. Last Saturday night, after catering two events of 50 – I was surprised how decent I felt – tired, but still walking.
Know too, that I opted for no cancer treatment, which some would find unacceptable for we are taught early, to never give up – but treatment did not fit my circumstances, for I wanted a true quality of life…one not mired down in routine hospital visits, feeling sick way too often. This is not the choice for all, and that is to be respected as is my decision.
These past few months, I’ve work, laughed, danced, played with my dogs, cooked, and even social distanced with friends and family, I’m content with my decision.
Then, Wednesday morning, I awoke with pains in my chest and shortness of breath. After running a battery of tests, the doc came in and said: “I will not sugar coat it, your death is imminent.” By the way, I appreciate candor. Admittedly, I was surprised, for I was hoping to be here another Christmas.
With the aforementioned backdrop, I wanted to let you know that we are closing Bailey Catering effective immediately. Admittedly, I (and neither do the docs) do not know what “imminent” means – but it is getting closer each day…and I feel it…I start Hospice on Tuesday.
There are two things I want you to know. FIRST, I have a cadre of friends offering to help my every need, even with the mundane. That said, I’ve been independent for so darn long, it is hard to be a “receiver.” It is important to note that I am not dead yet; and I want to do things myself until I can’t. I guess we will figure this out together.
Last Friday, I told a friend I was going to do my radio show, she was surprised and questioned if I should. Friends, encourage me to do what I’m capable. Yesterday, I told my brother I wanted to make him a German Chocolate Cake for his birthday, He doesn’t want me to go through the trouble. Trouble is not how I see it – it is love, staying active and engaged – so encourage, not dissuade. I understand that your suggestions only come from love. But I want to stay engaged.
SECOND. Laugh with me. I’ve laughed through this whole process. Much to my brother Byron’s chagrin. Believe me, I am not in denial – I understand the gravity, the finality of it all. I just choose to walk on the lighter side.
Here lately, I’ve been resorting back to my youth – bought a Duncan Yoyo – you know, the one that lights up….and a spinning top – come play with me and share in some cookies. I want to see people.
I wanted a big party and invite all of you to my friend Rosemary Henderson’s home. I wanted to do the cooking – and we all eat and laugh together in her front yard. Well, sadly, because of COVID, that won’t happen. Very disappointing. It would have been fun. But over the months, I’ve been able to get friends together and cook and enjoy good times.
I want each and everyone of you to know how much you are loved by me. You should know how much I appreciate you as a client, and you as a friend. Truly. I often quote Epicurus: “You should look for someone to each and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.” I believe this to my core. Food is passion for me, more than that, food is communal – to celebrate, to mourn, to show love.
Even this pandemic, I’ve tried to support Tampa’s culinary talents. I’ve listed many of my favorites on my website on the blog portion under “My Favorite Restaurants.”
Marty Blitz of Mise en Place, I love him and his incredible food and his soups, Kevin and Kayrn Kruszewski of Pane Rustica, Jeannie Pierola, Ferrell Alverez (everything they do), Suz and Roger Perry of the Datz Group – we have had so much fun. Jeff Mount of Wright’s Gourmet who is so consistently good, it’s freaky, Richard Gonzmart, while not a chef – he is a talent beyond measure and knows and loves great food more than anyone I know, Mel Lohn of Mel’s Hot Dogs has delivered a great product for over 30 years, that’s to be admired, and two new young talents you will see a lot more of in years to come: Christina Theofilos of Psomi – a talent beyond her years, and Bryce Bonsack of Rocca. And I hope against hope, for one final meal at Bern’s Steak House where I have been going since I was a kid.
Yes, I could go on and on – but I’m going on way too long. So much to say, too little time. But when coming to the end of life – well, I ask your indulgence. Actually, it is hard to say good-bye. The French probably have the best way: “Au Revoir” – until we meet again.
With Much LOVE. Enjoy the cookies. Kim
Colossal Chocolate Chip Cookies
• 1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature salted butter – I use Land O’Lakes
• ¾ cups light brown sugar
• ¾ cups sugar
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
• ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 large room temperature eggs
• ½ cup PLUS 2 tablespoons rolled oats (ground fine in food processor)
• 2 ¼ cups flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips
• 1 cup Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
• 4 ounces coarsely chopped semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate bars
Process oatmeal in food processor until extremely fine. You can use a clean coffee grinder if it has no residue of coffee or spices in it – but a food processor works best. Once processed run through a strainer and throw away the excess unpressed oats.
Sift flour, soda, cinnamon, salt together. Add to oatmeal. Set aside
In a stand mixer (or hand help mixer) cream butter and sugar together until well creamed, add eggs one at a time and cream until well blended. Add vanilla and lemon juice.
On very low speed – add flour oatmeal mixture about a cup at a time. Stir from the bottom with rubber spatula to mix all ingredients well. Add chocolate chips and chopped chocolate and stir until completely blended.
Scoop cookie dough out with the size scoop you desire. Place scooped cookies on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. They can be placed close together. Freeze. Once frozen place in zip loc bag and store until ready to bake.
They can be baked not frozen.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen (best frozen) or thawed 2” to 3” apart on parchment line sheet pan. Bake for 8 minutes, rotate pan – bake another 6 to 10 minutes. Everything depends on how hot your oven is. Watch carefully after first rotation. Do not overbake.