By Rachel Cohen
This guest post comes from reader Nicole (seen in the center of the photo), who was kind enough to reach out to us after trying one of the recipes from the 90s Capital Cuisine cookbook we featured recently. Thanks, Nicole!
If I had to choose, I’d pick my three top passions in life as baking, hockey, and writing. I’ve been baking and writing as long as I could hold the proper tools, but hockey is a much more recent interest. A friend of mine in high school got me hooked on the Caps during the 2012 playoff series against the Bruins. I cite Joel Ward’s game Seven overtime goal as the exact moment I became a hockey fan. I discovered RMNB not long afterward, and I’ve been a reader and commenter ever since.
As an English major in her junior year of college, it’s not hard to keep up with writing, but hockey and baking require a little more conscious effort. I had been meaning to make something from the Capital Cuisine Cookbook since the post was originally made, but moving back into college and starting a new semester got in the way of things. I was able to conjure up the ingredients I needed for Dale Hunter’s Hermit Cookies, but each day I arrived home exhausted and with assignments I had to prioritize over baking. However, on the night of the game against the Blue Jackets, with nothing due immediately the next day, I decided that it seemed as good a time as any to try out the recipe. After six hours of classes, I figured I needed something to take my mind off of things for a while. Hockey and baking sounded like just the trick.
My living arrangement at college is basically an apartment with no kitchen. So how did I bake these? My trusty ol’ toaster oven.
It took most of the game to bake them: I was only able to make about four at a time. It’s a good thing that this recipe does not make anything close to the supposed yield of fifty-five cookies, because I probably would’ve still been baking when the next Caps game rolls around.
The TV and the toaster oven are both in the living room of the apartment that I share with five other people, and because I live with awesome people, my roommates kept me company while I baked with the game on in the background. My roommates are not hockey fans. At least, not in the sense that I am. They’ll watch because I watch, not really out of any real interest of their own. So maybe it was the smell of the walnuts and raisins melding perfectly with the cinnamon and nutmeg in the oven, or maybe it was Joe B’s fantastic play-by-play sounding through the TV speakers, but something drew them to the living room that evening. Before I knew it, everyone was comfortably situated on the couch and watching the two scenes unfold before them: my baking and the Capitals game.
The final product!
I explained as much of the game to them as I could, detailing rules as the situation demanded. They watched with intent, tracking the puck and the movements of the players, wincing at hard hits, egging on Michael Latta’s fight, gasping at Holtby’s saves. The game rolled along at as steady a pace as the Hermit Cookies came out of the oven. After Nick Backstrom scored his second of the night, I announced that it was very possible he could get a hat trick, which excited everyone. “I wanna see the hats!” my roommate Heather shouted.
As the clock wound down and the Blue Jackets pulled Bobrovsky, we all started to get nervous. “Do the thing! Get the points!” my other roommate Alisa cried as the Capitals made their way into the Blue Jackets’ zone. Marcus Johansson scored his empty-netter to exuberant cheers, rousing high-fives, and more cookies. “Did I just become a hockey fan?” my roommate Madeline asked, sounding surprised at herself.
I think her original intent was to joke, and I could see her point: my roommates include a Computer Science major, a former marching band geek (self-professed), an aspiring interior designer, and a future political speechwriter. Not exactly what you might think of as “sports people,” I suppose. I thought back to my own moment, my own entry into hockey fandom. I had had almost no clue what I was watching at that point either, and yet I had felt something stir within me, a feeling of victory and triumph and belonging that has been hard to replicate since. Perhaps this wasn’t exactly what my roommates were feeling, but that evening, with the five of us on the edge of our couch cushions, hanging on Joe B’s every word with Dale Hunter’s cookies in hand, I don’t think I could’ve found any better or more passionate fans to watch with.
Left to right: Alisa, Madeline, Dillon, and Heather.
After the game, I showed them some Ovi highlights. These are their reactions to watching The Goal for the first time.
Thanks again, Nicole, for sharing such a wonderful story! The cookies look delicious, and we’re glad you were able to recruit some new Caps fans in the process. If you’ve also tried out a recipe for the Caps cookbook, or just have a really neat story about hockey to share, shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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