~ Charles Dickens
Sometimes occasions come around that inspire the need to take action. We have each done our part, made a gesture no matter how small, to bring about awareness for a good cause or donated money, goods or time to help someone in need. From leaving a pile of old coats and cuddly sweaters for the homeless person who lives in a makeshift shack outside of Paris as winter sets in to dropping a few coins in a hat on a street corner, from purchasing too many boxes of cookies from the adorable daughter of our next door neighbor to making phone calls for our candidate of choice, from taking to the streets to giving our time in a shelter, we have all made an effort. Now, as I sit at my laptop in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my family (listening to my husband and son chatter together amid the noise of puttering) and enjoying good health, I think of those close to my heart who have suffered at the hands of one evil or another. I have sat with one of my college roommates as she received chemo; I have spent hours upon hours, weeks and months listening to the labored words of my husband as he had to make decisions on his own father’s behalf; I have telephoned my cousin to tell her about my brother’s illness and death only to end up discussing her own brave fight against breast cancer; I have been stunned and amazed by the courageous behavior of two very close friends made through the internet as they face their own struggle with cancer, blown away by their humor and grace in dealing with something so dreadful. I have lost my own father and brother to an illness still, sadly, without a cure.
~ Charles Dickens
It is Pink October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I cannot but remember the two times I entered a clinic to have lumps removed, confused, stunned and trying to deal with the fear of the unknown. I was one of the lucky ones, educated, informed and having the means with which to do something about it. Others are not so lucky, like the poor woman I found standing in front of the banks of elevators at the Breast Clinic in Manhattan, alone, hysterical, crying for help as the tears coursed down her cheeks, one woman, one moment that is seared into my memory. And I know that no matter how small and insignificant my words or my actions, if I can reach out and help one person or be the means of educating one single man or woman then I will feel as if I have made a difference. Deeba and I selected Pink October as our monthly Mac Attack Challenge theme for the second year in a row. We understand the importance, the urgency of spreading the awareness of this still incurable disease. We understand that there is still a long way to go not only in research and finding that cure, but in simply making more women (and men) aware, educating them that they have the power to anticipate, screen themselves as I did those many long years ago, and at least begin to take matters into their own hands and help themselves.
A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
~ Oscar Wilde
Pink is the color of October. Now, one thing that I have learned along the way is that a most crucial element in dealing with a challenge such as an illness is friendship. Kind words. A hug. Support, encouragement and laughter. Sharing the burden just a little, making us forget the pain and worry for even a few minutes or a few hours. Chocolate and chick lit where a chick flick isn’t possible, when distance divides. And baking together. From Mactweets, where we gather together each month a bevy of Macpassionate bakers in our virtual Macaron Kitchen to Bake Together where Abby Dodge offers us her recipes, shares her love of baking, her encouragement and her own virtual kitchen to bake together across space, miles and continents, there is always a place for the healing power of friendship, camaraderie and conviviality. And food.
I will share two recipes from these two groups that offer each of us a way to spend just a little time with friends, to spread laughter, help each other face challenges whether in baking or in life, a way to get to know each other a little better and widen our circle of friends and support. This is one reason we have all come to food blogging, knowing that we will meet like-minded souls, many of whom will become allies and companions, collaborators and mentors, friends with whom we can share our woes and successes, our knowledge and our support. Today I offer you… French Macarons for Pinktober! As I have only one macaron eater chez moi and he really loves my chocolate macs the best, I have used my regular recipe, adding 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and about ¼ teaspoon pink food coloring paste whipped into the stiff egg whites to get a cocoa macaron with a faint pink tinge. I sprinkled the shells with candied rose petal bits or cherry-flavored sugar crystals then sandwiched the halves together with a thick, rich semisweet chocolate ganache swirled with a dab of my favorite cherry jam. Luscious…to be eaten in moderation. And with a friend or two.
Please find the basic and my favorite Chocolate Macaron recipe and well as the best Chocolate Ganache filling HERE. Adjust to taste by adding cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla or any other flavored sugar as you please.
And this month of October: THINK PINK!
Follow Deeba and I on our monthly macaron adventures on the Mactweets blog. And join along, the more the merrier, and see how baking together ignites your creativity, inspires your imagination, gives you courage to try and laughter when you fail… and a whole lot of new friends.