Saturday, February 12, 2011

Swedish Love Cookies

Swedish movies make me feel smart for just watching them. There's subtitles, clogs, and a spoken language tonally reminiscent of two wooden oars clacking together. Even the ever-present naked scenes are tasteful with a cultivated sense of modesty. We watched "The Swedish Heart" the other night where the fair-haired Ingvar, a sensitive fellow who lives out in the Swedish countryside, carves these wooden hearts and puts one on his girlfriend's pillow whenever he wants to get amorous with her. This worked pretty well for him; she always fell for the wooden heart trick, and my wife thought it was sweet and dropped a few hints, like why can't I be more like Ingvar.

Well, for one thing, I reminded her that I can't carve anything. Even a turkey. Every time someone hands me the knife at Thanksgiving, like I'm the grandmaster-carver or the Ginsu-knife guy on TV, they are gravely disappointed when they receive chopped and mangled pieces of bird on their plate. She says it's the thought she was talking about, not the actual act of carving.

So, the next day, I was at this fancy bakery, Klauber's Splendid Pastry, and they had all these heart-shaped cookies ready for Valentines day, and I knew what I had to do: I bought a dozen and stashed them under the bed, thinking these were going to be my tickets for twelve sessions of love (about a year's worth around here). What could be better, an unassuming cookie heart that is not only thoughtful, but yummy as well. I placed one on my wife's pillow and waited.

It was a big cookie, similar to a sugar cookie, about five and a half inches across and hard to miss, but she came to bed and put her head down on top of it and broke it into pieces. Then, in a discourteous tone, questioned me about all the crumbs. I explained that it was a heart, just like Ingvar the Swede's, only edible. She said I had a lot to learn; that Ingvar made his wooden hearts by hand and my bargain-counter cookie was store-bought. I don't know how she could tell this just by the crumbs, but it was partially true, though Klauber's is not cheap; their cakes are forty dollars a piece.

So I'm back to the old system, which is no system at all, and I've got eleven cookies gathering dust under the bed. I've learned one thing: love doesn't come easy unless your name is Ingvar. Perhaps things would have gone smoother if I spoke the clacking-oar language and there were subtitles following me around everywhere, causing those in my proximity to pause and be mindful of the occasion.

I forgot to mention that each cookie has red and white frosting along the edge. They are nice looking cookies when they are whole.