Health & Fitness

Aging Matters: It’s OK to rethink how you’ve always done things

“But I’ve always done it this way.”

So? That’s the only way you can do it? Sorry, friend. Take my word for it: There is nothing that can’t be done another way. If that weren’t so, we’d still be scrubbing clothes on a copper washboard and hanging them on the line to dry. (Not that there’s anything wrong or retrograde about the clothesline. If I could synthesize that delicious fresh aroma, I’d be set for life.)

But after we have stumbled through another milestone or seven or eight on the way to 100, “the way I’ve always done it” drains too much energy. Once you hit the big eight-oh, everything — everything! — gets more difficult and takes longer. It’s time to think like a time-and-motion engineer and reprogram the system.

Although my three daily meals are cooked, served and cleaned up without my lifting a hand, I still like to bake. It’s a joy to pull an aromatic loaf of cinnamon bread from the oven, but getting the dough into that oven takes too long and wears me out. Making cookies, I can’t stand, measure, stir, roll out and cut, all one-handed, while the other hand holds on to steady me. So I’ve developed my own method. I’m thinking of patenting my three-day, four-phase cookie regimen. Bet I could collect royalties from the Old Cooks crowd. Don’t forget: You heard it here first.

•  Day one: unwrap and leave butter in the mixing bowl overnight to soften. Go to bed.



•  Next morning: Measure and set aside sugar, combine flour and all other dry ingredients. Now rest.



•  After resting, mix dough, cover and stick it in the fridge. Leave utensils soaking in the sink. That’s enough for the day.



•  Next day — or the next! — roll chilled dough into balls, flatten onto the cookie sheet. Thumbprint a dent in each cookie, fill with a dollop of cherry preserves or hazelnut spread. While they bake, use those 15 minutes to clean up the mess you left yesterday. Ah, blessed rest!



Not exactly how you’ve always done it, I’m sure. But that was before you became limited by age or infirmity, or both. It works.

The best part? Sharing fresh-baked cookies and eating up the compliments!

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