11 February 2017

Aut facere aut mori | Spritz Cookies

Welcome back, all five of you who read GG: did you notice that things have changed?

The new motto is "aut facere aut mori," which I translate from Latin to English as "make or die" or "do or die." 

Since the Mouse owns Star Wars, I figured it'd only be a matter of time until I got sued for using "Dark Side" without a trademark.  Then again, only five people read this blog; Gothic Granola is not significant enough to be sued. 

Also, since the Star Wars franchise has vampirized everything that used to be fun for me from the Star Wars galaxy, I don't care about it anymore.  (Sidebar: Why not make movies out of the Thrawn trilogy?!)  Well, to be honest, I stopped caring about a lot of things I liked once I was in college/in a depression, and Star Wars and Harry Potter became meaningless and irrelevant, compared to whatever the issue of the day was.  I haven't seen the 2016 Star Wars or Harry Potter movies, and I don't care to see them.  Nancy Drew, I have liked in some form or other for most of my life, and so I got back into playing the computer games (and trying to find blue-cover editions of the books) without too much angst in the past three years.

I'm still looking for a new blog theme; I don't want to have to re-edit all my posts to remove all photos above the break.  There's over 300 posts and four pages on this blog.  If re-posting content from 2011-2013 years took almost three years after I transitioned to Wordpress.org/Bluehost in 2014, then there's no way in hell I will update every single post in a timely manner, if done manually.

Spritz cookies!  The cookbook I needed is in storage, so I consulted Google and found two recipes.  The American Butter Institute's recipe did not convert well to vegan, gluten-free, and high-altitude cookies, shockingly (scant flax and water substitutes for two eggs were too much liquid).


  • If you're veganizing a spritz cookie recipe, you can very likely skip the egg substitute.  These cookies need to be as "dry" as possible, and fake butter provides plenty of moisture, from 5,000 feet above sea level to 9,000 feet above sea level.

  • Wash your cookie sheets between batches.  Yes, you have to do extra work.  While you can use the most carbon-scored, burned, and be-splattered cookie sheets in your arsenal to make spritz cookies, residual fat from a previous batch can interfere with new cookies "gripping" the pan.

  • While Smart Balance is now dairy-free, it tastes more like margarine than Earth Balance, and I would recommend Earth Balance buttery spread or buttery sticks for this recipe over Smart Balance.  Interestingly enough, Boulder Brands owns both Smart Balance and Earth Balance.

  • You may need to chill your cookie dough and spritz press between batches if your kitchen heats up quickly.  Since margarine has a low melting point, the cookie dough may begin to deteriorate if it's left out while the oven is on.

I guess the recipe's moisture depends on your flour and the conditions where you live, because I did not need 1/4 cup water as described in Lisa's Project Vegan Spritzgeback recipe.

Spritz Cookies

Modified from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) vegan margarine

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar (I blitzed a mixture of organic cane and coconut sugars)

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • optional: 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 cup GF oat flour

  • 1 1/4 cups tapioca starch

  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch (additional, for high altitude)

  • Granulated organic sugar for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. DON'T LINE OR GREASE but have at the ready three (or however many you're willing to wash) cookie sheets.

  3. In a large bowl, sift then whisk together the flours and xanthan gum.

  4. In a stand mixer, cream together the margarine and the powdered sugar until fluffy.

  5. Beat in the vanilla and any other extracts.

  6. Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture in three additions, beating well after each.

  7. Once the dough is all combined, scoop it into your spritz cookie press according to manufacturer's instructions.

  8. Spritz cookies onto the cookie sheets.  One press may be enough, but two makes a larger cookie.

  9. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. (You may need to store the remaining cookie dough in the fridge while other batches are baking.)

  10. Let cool on the sheets for five minutes before removing, washing the cookie sheets, and then repeating with the rest of the dough.

Cookies for cats!

Other reasons for changing the tagline synchronistically jumped out at me this week:

  • The Gothic sub/culture/scene has become a fashion show.

  • DIY or die!!!!

Both of these are broad, far-reaching statements, and are in no way intended to be taken as gospel.  (Again, five readers, no one cares.)  The likelihood of my attracting the ire of any Goth YouTuber (tubers...like, potatoes?) is phenomenally low.  Especially since these people who are so adept at marketing themselves have become the "voices" of the Goth community (no disrespect; marketing is part of my job and I tip my hat to your strategies).

One impression I have of the self-identified Goth component of the Internet is that it is full of vain, self-absorbed people who apparently never leave their domiciles.  Also, living in a resort town and having been on a recent trip to Scotland, I see my fair share of vloggers doing their vlogs with their GoPro cameras and phones, though they don't appear very alternative.  However...who knows?  These skiers and snowboarders could be listening to Rudimentary Peni on the slopes (my husband does); snowsports gear doesn't generally fit the "Goth" aesthetic (because it's functional, hah hah), thereby leaving no way for one to identify someone as part of the tribe.

If you're so Goth, where were you when we sacked Rome?

Realise now the supreme irony of my using Latin titles and a Latin motto for my blog...please realise it.

My points here are thus:

  • Clothes do not a Goth make.

  • However, clothes and exterior appearance are how we identify other "freaks."

I have definitely given and received the "mutual freak nod of recognition" and it has made my day.  I also don't appear terribly "Gawwwwwth" because I have a white collar job and I have a my morning routine of writing instead of primping.  I find that I can get away with having a deathhawk (worn down, but parted to one side to show my shaved sides), because I don't wear makeup.  There are also no clubs to see and be seen at here in the mountains, nor do I have any real-life friends here, so the only place for me to truly "present" as a Goth is on the Internets.  The only place to perform my identity as a vegan and gluten-free, asexual, androgynous, Goth human is the Internet. 

In real life, I wear functional clothing because it's cold, snowy, and slippery outside, or I have to Skype with my employer, or I'm cooking and baking and don't want to get my weird clothes messy.  At this point in my life, 90 percent of my wardrobe is black and strange, so it's easy to wear at least something non-normative, thus performing that aspect of my identity. 

However, there are two aspects of my identity that are by far more important than any of the other labels I may apply to myself, and they are not all that concrete: intellectual and creative.  I think.  A lot.  Meditation keeps me from thinking a small interval of each day, and that is extremely important for my sanity.  The only way, of course, to perform thinking is to express it in words, pictures, dance, etc.--some kind of action or output.  I can perform being educated by using complete sentences and correct grammar on the Internets (link in case you forgot about W; it's all coming back now, isn't it?!).  When the Internets places more value on appearance than substance, in some kind of out-of-high-school popularity contest, what with all the hearts, likes, and favourites on every single social media app and website, I guess there is no revenge of the nerds.  The only time I had a piece of academic-type writing validated on a social media website was when I delivered a smackdown to someone on Tumblr trying to correct me about Satanism.  I threw the book at them (cited sections of The Satanic Bible).   Otherwise, and this cracks me up, selfies get more likes than posts promoting this blog or Cemetery Spelunking.  No, I am more than an alright face--"I went to Princeton, bitch!"  Presumably, my intellect will last longer than my looks.  And may my writing last even longer.

To bring this all together, creativity: I deconstruct and rebuild recipes to make them vegan and gluten-free on this blog and obviously in real life, so I can eat and stay alive!  I don't copy other people's (largely insipid) quotes or make up bro wisdom about the gym and post it with my selfies, socks, or VGF creations.  We (who are we?) live in a time where originality is largely ignored in favour of that which is somewhat new but mostly the same, tame, and safe.  Tangentially, there's quite a bit of appropriation of the "look" of a certain group of people because it's "cool." (I shouldn't speak; the deathhawk isn't that different from a mohawk, which is more than a hairstyle.)  I saw this article a few months ago about "fashion's fetish moment," and how people may be mindlessly (instead of mindfully) appropriating items from the fetish and leather communities.  Uh, be careful how you wear some appropriations; S&M doesn't mean "Stand & Model."  A few people said inappropriate things to me for wearing a simple ribbon choker to work (back in ye olde retail days).  Seemingly simple things can be symbolic (and sometimes offensive), so it pays to be educated on original contexts.  Remember the "mutual freak nod of recognition?"  It's real, and it's not nice to confuse people.

At the same time, I can acknowledge my own shallowness; I for sure can be accused of liking bands because I think the lead singer is attractive.  Nevertheless, my research background is very ingrained.  Once I start listening, I also obsessively research bands and read and watch their interviews to make sure they're up to something I can support, more than just melodically.

Aut facere aut mori: DIY or die.  When I first started researching the Gothic subculture in 2007 for a novel, I found more and more of what I read about the early music and aesthetics fit with my general outlook in life.  I make cards for people, I have penpals, I think cookies, beaded jewelry, and clay bits make great gifts, and the best things you can do for people don't directly involve money.  Being drawn to Romantic writers' work, cemeteries, abandoned places, dystopian novels, and generally "dark" art and music gave the flavour to being Goth, in my mind, but the substance was the questioning, take-nothing-at-face-value, do-it-yourself ethos of punk and Goth culture.  I find this is not the case anymore, and I'm happy to find that other people are saying that the Goth Emperor's clothes are becoming too easily-gotten.  As much as being Goth is about being apart from the mainstream pod people, there sure is a lot of pod fashion available now and pod thinking happening!

This article could be pages and pages longer, but as this is a food blog and not an academic treatise, I'm stopping here.

Inspirational articles and sites for all the above:

Responding to a Blog Post and Some Dorky Pictures on Little Corp Goth Girl

Public Image Limited on The Belfry

GOTH SUBCULTURE IS CULTURE - And why it's important on Coalcandy's YouTube channel

"Why the Leather Community is Cautiously Optimistic about Fashion's Fetish Moment" on i-D Magazine

April 2015 interview with London After Midnight (Sean Brennan) in Runway and the  Interviews section of the LAM website more broadly

I will leave you with this gem from Third Realm: "Elitism of the Underground Scene."



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