Last week whenever I walked through my dining room, I saw this:

and I would feel a wave of anxiety wash over me. Even though he’s been gone before, and even though he’s been gone for this long before, I was so scared to have him go this time. As that amalgamated pile of kit, the boots in every room of the house, became more organized and packed away it counted down to when I would have to drive him to the airport and kiss him goodbye. I drop him off at the airport and cry the rest of the way home each and every time.

It might have been so scary watching him prepare to go because the plan kept changing every day: the date he was leaving, how long he would be gone for, what part of the country he was going to. They all changed, some of them multiple times. That continued flux, not knowing what was going to happen but knowing that it was going to, was so very difficult because it is hard to have a solid plan of action when the itinerary is constantly shifting.

Mr is gone for now, he’ll be gone for a while, but things are going alright. Things seem to be pretty set as to what is going on and I have a date to count down the sleeps to until he comes back home. I’ve got friends (who are awesome) coming over or sleeping over so I don’t feel so alone, and we’re starting to get into a routine. I’ll admit that I’ve spent a fair bit of time feeling sad and huddling under blankets, but I promise the regularly scheduled cooking will resume soon.

Him being gone isn’t so scary now that we know when he’s going to come home. That isn’t to say that it isn’t hard having him so far away, but with a settled plan it really is easier.

Black Pepper Cookies

(adapted from the recipe in Supercook: The Complete Encyclopedia of Cooking ©1978, by Marshall Cavendish)

3/4 Cup butter

1 Cup sugar

3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 Cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 Cup cocoa


  • In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Add in the pepper, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and egg. Mix to combine.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa into the wet mix, and mix until a firm dough is formed.
  • Roll the dough into balls roughly 1 inch in diameter, and set them onto baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart from each other. Gently flatten each of the balls with the heel of your hand.
  • Bake the cookies in a 375° oven for 10-12 minutes.
  • After removing the cookies from the oven, press hatchmarks into their tops with a fork.
  • Allow to cool and serve.

These cookies were actually made before Mr left; they’re really nice with tea, reminiscent of gingersnaps because of the cinnamon and cloves. Black pepper flavors mellow in cooking, so I can assuage you of the fear these are truly bitingly peppery cookies. The pepper and chocolate make a cookie with a really sophisticated flavor profile that takes really minimal effort in the making.

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