Of course he did it, says my father. Of course he lied.
I have stopped looking for the reasons for all of these things that make no sense, but my father says I don’t have to look in this case, because it’s obvious. He did it to sap your energy; he did it to divert your attention.
A whole lot of other things that didn’t quite make sense before suddenly snap into focus.
The Cleaning Lady goes about her work in a companionable, quiet house.
I made some cookies the day before The Cleaning Lady came. I made them mostly because I had a refrigerator full of limes … and yes, there’s a reason I had all those limes. I was supposed to bring punch to large event, and found a recipe in a cookbook for Blackberry Lime Punch. This sounded great except that it was very labor intensive and after I’d spent a half hour laboriously juicing blackberries, I noticed that the recipe made only eight glasses of punch – while I was trying to fill the punch cups of fifty people or more.
So I went with Plan B, courtesy of Bettycrocker.com, which worked out well, if unexceptional – but afterward, found myself with a refrigerator full of limes.
A little bit of hunting through cookbooks turned up a recipe for Coconut-Lime Bars from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I love limes and these are basically updated lemon bars, only the nice creamy-tart layer is now lime with a nice crunchy topping of coconut. It seemed like a little bit of heaven to me, but The Child thought otherwise.
She pronounced it “not a cookie,” and refused to eat it any more. Nor would she take the bars to school. “My friends won’t like them. They like regular cookies.”
Fine. I’ll start my diet next week, then.
I offer a cookie to The Cleaning Lady, and we eat some together, standing in the kitchen. She pronounces them delicious. Coconut is one of her favorite things, she says.
And I believe her.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus a little for greasing the pan.
- 1¾ c. sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 c. plus 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp grated lime zest
- 3 eggs
- ¼ c. lime juice
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¾ c. shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350* F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan.
- Use an electric mixer to cream the butter with ¼ cup of the sugar and the salt. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and the zest. This mixture will be dry; press it into the greased pan and bake for 20 minutes, no longer; it should just be turning golden. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
- Beat together the eggs, lime juice, and remaining 1½ cups sugar until lightened and thick. Mix in the remaining 3 tablespoons flour and the baking soda. Pour over the crust, sprinkle with the coconut, and bake until firm on the edges but still a little soft and jiggly in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve immediately or store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.