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Bacon cookies might help you forget that I forgot your name

Andrea Macko, Dishing It Out.

There’s no elegant way to put this: who are you again?

Since moving to St. Marys just over nine years ago, I’ve met a lot of people. And, while I have loved plunging headfirst into this community by working at this paper and the funeral home, it has its drawbacks — namely, that my brain can’t keep up with everyone’s names.

It’s frustrating knowing that I have met someone before (often multiple times) but can’t greet them by their name. I get angry at my absentminded memory and lack of manners. It’s especially embarrassing when the person I’m speaking to knows my daughter or dog’s name, and I can’t even surmise a surname. I’m downright jealous of people who have lived here forever and can name everyone — including nicknames — as they meet them!

The real problem lies in that most of my interactions have been fairly fleeting: perhaps I once took your picture or interviewed you for the paper, or maybe I took a donation from you at the funeral home. While both require me asking for and correctly spelling your name, it’s not the kind of meaningful interaction that aids memory. Interestingly enough, however, if I don’t know you, I probably do know how to spell your last name… that happens after proof-reading this paper for five years!

Part of me thinks that, while I’m not a particularly memorable person, I am at least easy to remember. I have two fairly high-profile roles in a small town: the girl who writes for the paper, and the undertaker’s wife. My picture is in this paper every week, and on our website, so that surely helps. I still get my fair share of Amanda, Angela, Ms. Mack or Mrs. Hodgins, but hey, nobody’s perfect.

There’s no definitive answer on how many names and faces the human brain can remember. I have a pretty good memory for useless facts and song lyrics, but names aren’t my thing. I’ve started enlisting those hackneyed tips for remembering names, like repeating it often, finding some phonetic association (Fred has fuzzy hair), or relating to it personally (I have an aunt named Hazel), but that doesn’t always work in the heat of conversation. Admitting I’ve drawn a total blank seems to be the honest, and hopefully endearing, way out.

Some people are great at making an impression — for better or for worse — and their names will always come to mind quickly. I swear I’m trying my best to remember, but you can help. There’s one local lady who always cheerfully says her name after she says hello — I think she may do it with everyone she knows, it comes so naturally. Another woman recently “introduced” herself to me via an anecdote about her great-granddaughter, born two days after dear Charlotte. And there’s the gentleman who always makes an off-colour, yet hilarious, joke about his last name whenever he provides it to me.

You don’t have to get this creative, though, just tell me who you are and why I should know you. If I still get it wrong after a few gentle reminders, you have my full permission to get cranky — maybe that’ll finally do the trick!

This recipe comes courtesy of my friend Doris, who I see regularly at badminton on Wednesday nights. She’s a real dear (see what I did there?). These cookies look like a great Valentine’s treat — after all, who can say no to bacon and cookies?

Chewy Bacon Butterscotch Cookies

10 raw bacon strips

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup rolled oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place a baking rack on top. In a medium bowl, toss bacon with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Arrange bacon on rack in a single layer, and sprinkle any remaining sugar on tip. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until golden. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool, and chop into small pieces.

For cookies, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Process oats in a food processor until finely ground, then transfer to a medium bowl and stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add flour in small additions until well mixed. Stir in bacon and butterscotch chips.

Place dough by heaping tablespoon 5 cm apart on prepared sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until edges are golden brown.

Makes 36 cookies.

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