Last week we visited an old farm and attended a maple sugaring demonstration. It was great fun and there were lots of children in the audience. The man explaining how maple sugaring works, was extremely pleasant and worked hard to engage the children and have them actively participate in tapping the trees for syrup. “What is sap?” he asked.
One boy yelled out an answer. Then another. Then, a third. None of the answers were quite right so he provided an explanation.
He then asked, another question about trees and more boys yelled out answers. Again, he gently corrected their incorrect answers and moved on to participation portion of the experience.
“Who wants to get the bucket?” the farmer said.
“I will!” yelled one boy.
“No, I want to!” yelled another.
As they pushed there way through the crowd, a mother looked at her daughter and said, “get out of your brother’s way.”
Then it hit me. Through the entire 60 minute activity not one little girl said a thing. Not one girl spoke up. Not one girl participated.
I remembered back to when I taught my first course. One day I asked the students for feedback. After class, a young woman took me aside and said, “This is my favorite course. But, I have to tell you – you never call on the women in class.”
I never call on the women in class? How was that even possible? I’m female. I support equal rights and opportunities for women (and, contrary to media hype, that is the definition of feminism). Wow. Talk about a blind spot.
I can’t help but be amazed at how we can silence others without even knowing it. Many of you are parents. How often do you see this happen?
While you mull it over, I’ll tell you about the cookies. Shortbread happens to be my weakness. When I finally settled in to make the shortbread, I discovered that many of the recipes out there are dry and bland. Then, I concocted this recipe recipe for classic buttery shortbread cookies. Let’s just say there will be no more store bought shortbread in this house.
Classic Buttery Shortbread Cookies
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c cake flour
8 0z butter, room temperature
1/3 c sugar
1/4 c powdered sugar
2 tbs. dark brown sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F 180 C
Measure and sift all purpose flour and cake flour together, twice. Set aside.
In a food processor, blend granulated sugar, powdered sugar and dark brown sugar until well mixed and fine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and add sugar. Mix on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and mix. Add flour and mix on low speed until the mixture begins to come together as a dough.
Place the dough into glass baking dish. Wrap your hand in plastic wrap and use it to spread the dough out and press it into the dish. Look at the bottom of the glass pan and make sure there are no gaps or pockets in the dough. Press the dough so that it is smooth, level and uniform. Dock the dough with a fork.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until light golden brown on the bottom and edges.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 5 strips lengthwise and 3 strips across. Only remove the shortbread from the pan until after it cools completely.